Today, we explored the incredibly unique structure of the lungs. Most of the tissues we’ve dealt with so far have been rather dense and/or fibrous, but the lungs presented us with far more spongy and pliable dissection. Since the rib cage had already been removed for the heart dissection, the lungs were readily accessible.
After removing the lungs from the chest cavity, it became clear that there are many ways to distinguish the left lung from the right. Since much of the heart is situated below the left lung, it tends to be smaller and has imprints due to the heart’s presence. For example, you can see an imprint of the aortic arch (emerging from the superior portion of the heart) on the inside of the left lung. The right lung doesn’t have these markings; however, with three lobes, it’s a little larger than the two lobed left lung.
Lung tissue is awfully squishy, but I suppose that’s what you would expect from something which provides about 80 square meters of surface area for oxygen exchange. The surface anatomy is pretty simple compared to the heart, but I’m sure studying the branching schemes of the bronchioles will be far more complicated. Oh well, still really interesting to see how the cardiovascular system works from an anatomical perspective. 🙂