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Cow heart

Michael Frank, Royal Veterinary College

Download this image from Wellcome Collection.

The heart from an adult cow. The left side of the heart is on the right side of the image. The heart is a muscle which pumps blood around the body continuously. It is made of four chambers through which blood flows: two upper chambers (where blood enters the heart) and two lower chambers (where blood exits the heart). Here, windows have been cut into three of these chambers to show what’s inside.

This historical specimen is from a cull animal. It is preserved in formalin in a Perspex container and was photographed in the Anatomy Museum of the Royal Veterinary College in London.

This heart measures 27 cm from top to bottom and is roughly four times the size of a human heart.

Imaging technique: photography

This is a composite of three photographs. To achieve the 3D look, lights were used to separately illuminate the outside of the heart followed by the inside of its chambers.

Location where image was created

London, UK

Why did the judges choose this image?

“We chose this photograph because, with no sense of the visceral nature of the organ, it shows so clearly the structure and shape of the heart valves. It appears almost sculptural. The photographer has rendered the shape so well using lighting and multiple exposures, then bringing them together to reveal all the detail of this most essential of organs.”

Catherine Draycott, Head of Wellcome Images

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