Lab 4: Chicken Wing Dissection –

Skeletal and Muscular Systems

How do I work?

What am I made of?

What connections do I have?

How do I find out?

Why is this important to my life?


Purpose:  To see how the muscular and skeletal systems work together to move and support a chicken’s wing.



  1. Tape the chicken wing dissection table and chicken wing diagrams into the left side of your notebook.  In addition to filling out the table with observations 1-6, there will be questions A-G to answer separately in your observations and inferences section.
  2. Obtain a chicken wing and dissecting equipment.
  3. Rinse the chicken wing under cool, running water and thoroughly dry it with a paper towel.
  4. Pick up the wing and imagine it is still on the chicken.  Write your observations and inferences on the page to the left of your pre-lab. 

Question A (answer in your observations and inferences part of your lab report):  Do you think your wing is from the right or left side of the chicken?  Explain.  You will have an observation and an inference that answers this question.

  1. Imagine that the wing is your arm.  Move the joints and look at Figure 1 to answer these questions.

Question B:  Which joint in the human body (shoulder, elbow, wrist or finger) is the equivalent to joint A? Why do you think so?

Question C:  Does joint A move more like a ball and socket joint or more like a hinge joint?  Explain your answer.  

Question D:  Which joint in the human body (shoulder, elbow, wrist or finger) is the equivalent to Joint B?  Why do you think so?

5.  Examine the skin covering the chicken wing. 
Fill in #1 on the Table.

  1.  Carefully cut the skin along the entire length of the chicken wing as shown in figure #1.  Try not to cut through the muscles below the skin.
  2. Remove the skin from the wing.  This is difficult.  It works best if you slide your finger around under the skin to break some of the connective tissues then grab the skin, cut and pull hard from top to bottom.
  3. Notice the yellowish tissue found in small clumps on the inside of the skin.  This is called “fat tissue.”  All cells contain some fats but “fat cells” are fills with the stuff.  A bunch of “fat cells” together make “fat tissue.” 
    Fill in #2 on the Table.
  4. Observe the muscles on the wing.  They are bundles of pale pink tissue.
    Fill in #3 on the Table.
  5. Follow a bundle of muscle down to the tendon.  Observe the shiny white tendon. 

              Fill in #4 on the Table.

  1. Notice the ligaments at the joint. 

              Fill in #5 on the Table.

  1. Find a thin reddish-brown strand of tissue.  Pull it aside with the dissecting needle.  This is a blood vessel. 
    Fill in #6 on the Table.
  2. Look at your chicken wing and use it to help you label the tendon, muscle and bone in Figure 2 (under the Table).
  3. Find a tendon or a single muscle and pull on it to see how it moves the chicken wing. You might experiment with more than one muscle.

               Question E:  How did the muscles move the bones? Describe or draw.

  1. Remove the muscles and tendons from the bone to expose Joint A.  Pull the bones apart at the joint.  Look for the ligaments that hold the bones together.  Can you find two ligaments crossing each other?  These are the cruciate ligaments (often injured by athletes).

Question F:  How did ligaments hold the bones together?  Describe or draw.

  1. Break one of the bones and look inside.
             Question G:  Describe what you observe about the structure of chicken


  1. CLEAN UP:  Throw the chicken remains away.  Wash all equipment in hot, soapy water, rinse well, and put on the tray to dry.  WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER!!


ü      Note: if you do not finish Procedures #1-17 in one period then you must write your names and block on a bag.  Then put your chicken wing in the labeled bag.  You may have the next period to finish up your observations.














Chicken Wing Dissection Table



Description (color, texture, etc.)






































Blood Vessel












Analysis Questions:


  1. What tissue of the chicken wing is commonly referred to as the “meat”?


  1. Why would a bird be unable to fly if there were torn tendons in the wing?


  1. Which of the types of muscle found in the human body is/are found in the chicken wing?


  1. Which two specific muscles found in the human upper arm are the equivalent of the chicken wing muscles you looked at in this lab?


  1. Why does a chicken need to have so many different bundles of muscles attaching to different parts of the bones?



Conclusion:  Look back at the purpose.  Then, explain how bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments work together to move a chicken’s wing.  Use observations to support your explanation.  Then, make connections to the class throughlines and to how your own body works.