How to compare the anatomy of a beef heart & a human heart

Written by marisa swanson
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How to compare the anatomy of a beef heart & a human heart
The heart of a cow is very similar to the heart of a human. (cow image by david purday from

The structure, or anatomy, of a cow and human heart are virtually identical. In fact, it is very common for science and medical classes to dissect a cow heart in place of a human heart. A thorough study of illustrations and dissections will help you to understand the differences and similarities between the two organs.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Look at a diagram of the human and cow heart. You will be able to tell easily that the basic structure is the same. Cow hearts have four valves and four chambers that pump blood through the body to ensure daily survival.

  2. 2

    Study the size of each heart and learn about its purpose. The one main difference between the human and beef heart is size and weight. A human heart weighs between seven and 425gr, whereas a cow heart can weight up to five pounds. Both the cow and human heart serve the same purpose and the function of each heart is virtually identical. Oxygenated blood is brought from the lungs to the heart, to be pumped through the body. The heart rate (beats per minute) of the two is virtually the same.

  3. 3

    Watch a dissection of the human and/or cow heart to see what the organ really looks like in order to further compare and contrast. You don't have to be enrolled in medical school or a biology class to view dissections. Free videos of heart dissections are available online.

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