Gone are the stomach churning days of the biology class frog dissection.
At least at a school in Florida, where high school students now learn about anatomy through a synthetic frog, which looks just like the real thing.
Last month, students at J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Fla. became the first school in the world to use a man-made frog in the lab rather than a dead frog.
“SynFrog not only looks and feels like a real frog, it’s physically safer to dissect than a real preserved frog because it doesn’t contain potentially harmful chemicals like formalin,” Dr. Christopher Sakezles, founder and CEO of SynDaver, the Tampa-based company that manufacturers the specimens said in a statement.
The frog features synthetic skeleton, muscles, skin and organs, including a reproductive system with eggs.
And it all looks — and feels — like a frog.
The school board and PETA are also behind the initiative to change classroom dissections.
PETA estimates more than 3 million frogs are killed a year just for biology classes, and wipes out ethical concerns in using animals in the lab.
“We commend Pasco County Schools for taking this monumental step to advance science education, and we want to thank PETA for their funding support, which helped with the initial development phase of the product and enabled us to deliver it faster than previously anticipated,” Sakezles added.
Beyond saving the lives of frogs, PETA says the program also teaches students about empathy for animals and could foster a new generation of scientists.
“It’s safer, more effective, and more humane than cutting up dead animals—a practice that’s now destined for the trash bin of archaic education methods,” PETA vice president of international laboratory methods Shalin Gala said in a statement.
The school division is thrilled to participate.
“The Pasco County School District is committed to being a leader in innovation and opportunity for students, so we are excited to announce that Mitchell High School is the first in the world to use SynFrogs in science labs, giving our students a learning experience no other students have ever had,” Kurt Browning, Pasco County Superintendent of Schools, said in making the announcement.