Animal dissections might be a rite of passage of high school biology lab, but Discover magazine reports that they might dissuade otherwise eager students from science career paths.
There have been reports dating back 20 years showing that animal dissections — frogs, fetal pigs — lead students to drop science classes or convince them that science is just not right for them, it adds. Researchers who've studied this area tell Discover that some students learn from dissections that they have to be detached from the animals or have to "man up" and not show their emotions. At the same time other students learn a lot from dissection, and see, for instance, the parallels between frog and human anatomy, it notes.
To bridge these experiences, Discover reports that a firm called SynDaver has developed a synthetic frog that looks and feels real. "You can extract the same exact anatomical information but without having to harm a living organism," Karina Frey, a high school student, tells Discover. "To me that's just so important because I really love animals."