High school bio class just got a lot less gross thanks to the advent of simulated frog dissection kits that look like the real thing but smell WAY better.
Ahh, school days! The sights, the sounds, the smells... the things great memories are made of, unless we're talkin' bio class and the dreaded frog dissection. Ugh... not to mention how the frog (and its friends and family) must feel.
We'll leave that last bit for PETA to agonize over; we're here to address the sensibilities – and olfactory senses – of students who'd really rather not be grossed out in the name of a good edumacation. Oh, and before you start mocking today's crop of precious snowflakes, consider that formaldehyde – the smelly pickling agent used to preserve the frogs – has been designated (by none other than the US National Toxicology Program and the CDC) as “known to be a human carcinogen.” Nice.
“If only students could dissect frogs that weren't er, formerly living creatures,” asked someone wearing a hazmat suit and a clothespin on their nose. “Well, now they can!,” answers Chris Sakezles, founder and CEO of Syndaver Labs. The Tampa, FL-based company designs and manufactures a wide range of simulated animal and human body parts. “We do that without the ethical concerns about having to kill an animal,” explains Sakezles, and “without exposing them to biohazards.”
Lucky students at J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, FL are the first in the world to try out Syndaver Labs' new fake frogs and by all indications, they're lovin' it! According to school Principal Jessica Schultz, students are allowed to opt out of the dissection unit and many have done just that. Since the simulated frogs were introduced, however, not a single student has opted out.
The main drawback to Syndaver Labs' simulated frogs is price: approximately $150 per frog. Preserved actual frogs cost a mere $10 each but as stated, they come with other, less quantifiable costs. Syndaver Labs is working on lowering the per-unit cost through larger production runs and by recycling “used” frogs.
For the time being, schools and students do have alternatives to dissecting real frogs, one of which is the Simulated Frog Dissection Kit from Edu-Toys (above). Priced at roughly half of what Syndaver Labs charges, the less-sophisticated kit from Edu-Toys still manages to address many of the concerns voiced by students, educators and PETA. For more information and ordering instructions, please visit the product page at Amazon. (via AP/Tamara Lush, images via Jeff Peterson and Penn State Live)