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Chicken Wing Musculature

Chicken wing dissection

Essential question

What are the structures and functions of muscle tissue?


  1. Observe muscle tissue.
  2. Explain movement based on muscle attachment.
  3. Practice dissection techniques.


There are 3 different types of muscle tissue. Smooth muscle can be found in organs in the digestive system, reproductive system, and circulatory system. This type of muscle moves materials through and around the body; for example, smooth muscle tissue in the esophagus squeezes undigested food from the mouth to the stomach in a process called peristalsis.

Cardiac muscle tissue is found in the heart. This type of muscle tissue contains a large amount of mitochondria, which are required for the lifelong contraction and relaxation of the heart muscle.

Skeletal muscle tissue is found throughout the body, attached to many bones and skin. This type of tissue is controlled voluntarily or involuntarily and allows us to move, maintain posture, and breathe.

Part A: Observe the structure of 3 types of muscle tissue.

Skeletal muscle, Smooth muscle, Cardiac muscle


Use the images below to help you identify the prepared muscle slides given to you. 

Draw and label the tissue you observe under the microscope in the space provided.

Part B: Examine musculature of a chicken wing. Make comparisons to human musculature.


  • Dissection kit
    • Scissors
    • Blunt tip probe
    • Scalpel
    • Dissecting pins
    • Forceps
  • raw chicken wingDissection tray or mat
  • Gloves
  • Raw chicken wing


  1. Obtain dissection materials and the raw chicken wing.
  2. Observe the external anatomy of the wing. 
  3. Feel the bone structure through the tissue.
  4. Using scissors, carefully lift the skin and make a small cut at the elbow.
  5. Carefully cut the skin from the elbow toward the wing tip and then toward the head of the humerus.
  6. Using forceps, gently pull the skin away from the muscle and cut the connective tissue between the skin and muscle. Be careful not to cut the muscle.
  7. bicep and tricepRemove all skin.
  8. Identify the bicep and tricep muscles in the wing.
  9. Gently separate the muscles from one another, leaving them attached to the bone.
  10. Carefully pull each of these muscles and observe the movement of the lower limb.

Discussion questions

  1. Explain differences in the 3 types of muscle tissue you observed. 
  2. Discuss how the structure of each muscle type is specific to muscle function.
  3. Describe the movement of the chicken wing produced by the bicep muscle.
  4. Describe the movement of the chicken wing produced by the tricep muscle.
  5. Working together, how does the wing musculature allow the chicken to fly?

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