Hello everyone!

I’m back to tell you all about another great experience of this summer internship.

About a week ago, we had the opportunity to go to the Imperia zooprophilactic institute to observe the beginning of an autopsy on a dolphin that had been found the week before. The Delfini del Ponente group had been called to help identifying the species, because the animal was in terrible conditions.

Beatrice, Andrea, and I had been invited by Davide and Dr. Berio, veterinarian of the zooprophylactic institute, as veterinary and marine biology students. The objective was to add a formative experience to our cultural background, and it was definitely helpful. The animal wasn’t in great conditions: to use a more specific terminology, we were observing a code 5, so the animal was missing a big chunk of the integumentary system, the muscular system was basically non-existent, and you had to use a lot of “imagination” to recognize specific organs. Davide had been called to recognise the species because only the bone structures were present in the head region, and it was missing the tail. Looking at the teeth, Davide was able to determine that we were observing a striped dolphin (Stenella Coeruleoalba), and from what remained of the genitals, we were able to say that it was a male.

We were then able to have a chat both with Davide, who explained us the role of the marine biologist during autopsies, and dr. Berio, who explained to us how we could approach the cetacean world as veterinarians. We then moved to her office (so that we could be able to breathe something other than the dolphin carcass), and we continued the conversation, talking about the cases they had worked on in the past. Th whole thing started with dr. Berio who, with the enthusiasm of a student, showed us the photos of many cetaceans, telling us about their findings.

We want to thank having to wear masks, so that we were able to hide our grins the whole morning. It’s been an experience that has helped me understand where to direct my future studies, and it was amazing to go back to the necropsy room, because it felt like I was back at my university during an anatomy lesson.

I hope to have the opportunity to have similar experiences from a formative point of view, both inside and outside the necropsy room. In the meantime, I’m grudgingly getting ready for the last 10 days of internship.

Until next time!