Mark Danley carefully pulls on a pair of latex gloves, then uncovers the lifeless adult female form on the table. He folds back the two flaps of her severed chest, exposing the heart, lungs and other internal organs.
For just a moment, a slightly sharp chemical odor drifts from the body. Four young women look on, saying little, seemingly transfixed by the view inside the human body.
“We actually have to open up her chest like she’s having cardiac surgery,” Danley tells them.
But the woman on the table, Cindy, is not having surgery. In fact, she has never even been alive. She is an artificial cadaver, all 100 pounds of her – muscles and organs, tendons and teeth, blood vessels and bones. She was manufactured solely to take the place of the real thing in a human anatomy lab at the Central New Mexico Community College, where Danley is a biology instructor.