“Ode to a maggot -high school forensics”

The joy of holding a rotting chicken or digging up a decaying squirrel! You have to be there to appreciate it fully.

House fly larva eat flesh

House fly larva eat flesh

Projected onto the high school classroom screen was the live-action footage of putrefying poultry. The image was blown up to look like a mini IMAX of festively pulsating squirming mass proportions by way of a digital microscope.

What was wiggling on the screen?

It was maggots of all sizes and body-mass. They would move and wriggle across the slick decaying body devouring the meat as they went. Some newly hatched larvae were particularly ravenous, other older ones on the verge of pupating, they resemble plump garden red worms too fat to move.

Who would be chosen to hold the maggots today?

Students vie for the coveted honor of being chosen to get a tidbit of skin off the decaying mass and pick up the maggots for the day. Oh! The joy of being chosen is only superseded by being able to pick up the slimy 3 and 1/2 pound (1.59 kg) carcass. The thrill of turning that rotting bird upside down and spreading its wings and legs searching for those elusive eggs, larvae, pupae and the adult flies cannot be described.

Check out this video from their class

This kind of excitement about education teachers usually only dream their students will have. Two thousands classes of high school forensics are in session across the USA. Young folks learn to think and get involved and maybe many will be better equipped to think and learn and succeed in life.


Excerpts courtesy of nytimes.com/2009/science

Image courtesy of pestcemetery.com/house-fly-life-cycle


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