“Poo is life,” said the zoo's president, Federico Coccia at the exhibition's opening ceremony on Thursday morning.
“Without animal poo, there wouldn't be fertile ground and so there wouldn't be trees, oxygen, food … there wouldn't be any life.”
Visitors to the exhibition can explore ten 'interactive' sections, from 3D installations to realistic models of all kinds of faeces – including two fossils of dinosaur poo.
The exhibition is aimed primarily at children, according to organizers, who noted however that adults might also be interested to learn “that few other materials have a similar variety of uses.”
Children can learn to identify different species' faeces. Photo: Bioparco di Roma
“Poo is a source of food, a communication method, a means of identification, of fuel, a construction material, fertilizer, a hiding place, and so on,” they said.
Information panels and installations explain the many uses of the material, while in another section, models of different kinds of animal faeces are used to teach children how it can be identified from its characteristics.
As well as shedding light on poo from the animal world, the exhibition also includes a machine which recreates the human digestive system. Children are invited to insert plastic models of different foods, pull a lever and watch a simulation of the digestion process in action.
The exhibition will run at the Bioparco di Roma until June 30th, with special family days on May 19th and 26th in which families can take advantage of workshops, guided tours and “activities related to the most unusual poo”, according to the zoo.