‘Frog Talk’: cartoon unites science, music and entertainment | People’s Land

How to disseminate science in Brazil and present academic studies and discoveries to the population in a playful and didactic way? This was the concern of the doctor in Animal Biology from the Federal University of Espírito Santo and researcher at Unicamp, Raoni Rebouças who, in 2020, developed the project ‘Papo de Sapo’. The idea was to transform research on amphibians into musical animations with the aim of transmitting, especially to children, knowledge and a taste for biology.

The work, which began only with Raoni, now has five volunteers who work in composing the songs, creating the animations and editing the videos, in addition to more than 20 collaborators from several states in Brazil and even from other countries.

The project was created in 2020; material is released on the internet — Photo: Papo de Sapo/Disclosure

In two years, ‘Papo de Sapo’ covered 20 species, including tree frogs, toads and frogs. “We’ve already talked about the tree frog (Boana albomarginata) and the gigantism effect they have on islands; monkey frog (Pithecopus gonzagai) described in homage to Luiz Gonzaga; admirable red-bellied thrush (Melanophryniscus admirabilis) threatened in Rio Grande do Sul; golden thrush (Brachycephalus rotenbergae) which is fluorescent and does not hear its own song; on the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) which is decimating amphibians worldwide; over the frogs of the savannah, Physalaemus cuvieri and Physalaemus nattereri, that despite being very similar, they have quite different heat tolerances; and about the colorful species of the Amazon”, he highlights.

The video production process is laborious: some short animations with few characters are finished in a few hours, but others, with more elements and scenarios, require months of work. “First we define the theme and compose the music. The lyrics are revised by a collaborator specialized in child psychology, to adapt the language. Then we record, define the script and the sketch of the scenes, we do the montage of the characters and, finally, animation”, he explains.

All material is available for free on YouTube and the project’s social networks.

For Raoni, doing this work is gratifying. “We are very satisfied with the public’s receptivity, acceptance is total and we often receive videos of children singing our songs”, adds the researcher, who has plans for the future of the project. “We want to serve as a channel for research funding, helping to train new researchers and moving the Brazilian scientific gear.”

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