Decaying baby giraffe carcass shown at Artis’ Micropia museum

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The Micropia museum in Amsterdam launched an innovative exhibition titled 'Crucial Cleaner' this week. In the exhibit visitors will be able to see how microbes break down the body of a giraffe calf. 

“When an animal dies, microbes break down the carcass, returning fundamental biological building materials to the ecosystem and completing the circle of life”, Micropia writes on its website. The aim of the exhibition is to display death as an inevitable part of the circle of life and to show the indispensable role played by microbes in death.

According to the museum, microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, play a much more important role in clearing away organic material than visible cleaners like vultures, fly and beetle larvae. This is because they convert the dead organic waste into primary building materials, making them available to the rest of ecosystem.

The giraffe calf displayed died a natural death in Artis Zoo in 2014, when it was three days old.

The exhibition opened on Monday. Tickets are available online.