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  1.  (1004.1)
    Its no secret that I used to work in Biology, and took several courses on the subject. It has made me laugh, giddy and euphoric, and made me sob like the world was going to end.

    Today I share with you the tale of the Frog that Would Not Die; inspired by Templesmith's twitter post linking to The Brain that Would Not Die.

    I do not know where our frogs came from. They were leopard frogs, apparently wild-type, standard prey of biologists across the generations. We were to dissect them, monitor with fancy computers, electrodes and techno-gadgets, muscle responses, and Learn Things.

    Durring the lab, several frogs kicked the bucket, as is expected when you have had your brain scrambled, and vital organs removed. By the end of the lab, everyone's frog was dead, but ours.

    A skin, a head, heart and lungs was pretty much all that remained of this poor creature. Distressed that our animal continued to breathe and its heart beat, my lab partners and I beseeched our teacher to do something. We were told to wait a bit. A half hour passed, than an hour...

    It continued to breathe, it's little heart continued to beat. We became increasingly upset. We demand the teacher do something. We asked about cruelty, and pain, and were informed that the animal could not feel pain, it's brain was scrambled, it was not suffering.

    We poked the frog. We prodded it. We zapped it. Its heart continued to beat.

    For a moment its heart stopped, and we held our breath, thinking: Now, now this poor animal has gone on to a better life... and as we exhaled in relief, the animal's heart began to beat again.

    Finally our teacher sighed, told us to give him the frog. We expect him to kill it somehow, but instead, he just put the frog in a plastic bag, inside a garbage bag with the other dead frogs.

    Its heart was still beating. It was still breathing; and while logic says the animal must be dead by now, several years later, some part of me thinks: Somewhere, in a plastic bio bag, is a frog. A frog that will not die.

    It is Schroedinger's frog.
  2.  (1004.2)
    While packing stuff we came across a fetus in a jar. A human fetus. It floated, bobbed, and wobbled around, and, at midnight, having found it unexpectedly amongst the lab glassware, I screamed like a sissy girl. There are some things a tired mind doesn't like to handle. Fetus-in-a-jar is one of them.

    A similar sight were the 2 50-odd-year-old human brains preserved in jars we found sometime before the fetus. Something about the brains bobbing really got to my stomach; the brains rolling about in their yellowed, formaldehyde-preserved glory, their sour-sweet rancid stench...

    We also found a cat from a cat dissection, that had been forgotten for 2 years. Other than being a bit dry, it had not rotted at all.
  3.  (1004.3)
    The teacher could have squeezed the damn thing dead instead of just shoving it in a plastic bag. I don't know him personally, but from what you've said, I have to presume he's kind of a prick.
  4.  (1004.4)
    Andre- we were expecting him to do something, not just put the bugger in the bag.
    It creeps me out. And I feel really bad, even if the frog couldn't feel or understand anything; ah the joys of empathy with lab animals.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBen
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2008
     (1004.5)
    Frog's hearts are wierd things. They will sometimes keep beating for a long time even after the animal itself has bucked the kickit. Suspending them in solution just prolongs the effect, you can then remove it from the body completely. A friend of mine proposed to his wife with a small cube containing her engagement ring around a still beating frog's heart floating in goo.

    *shakes head* Nerd love scares me.
  5.  (1004.6)
    Ben - I didn't know that. It's mildly reassuring to know that the beating heart did not mean our frog was actually immortal (by the end we were exhausted, and making highlander jokes between nervous giggles).