for National Geographic News
A traveling museum exhibition currently on display in Miami, Florida, is all about poop.
"The subject is vast and fascinating," said Chad Peeling, the operations manager at Clyde Peeling's Reptiland in Allenwood, Pennsylvania.
Staff at the specialty zoo created the exhibit, called "The Scoop on Poop," to help children and adults alike explore the world of scat—what it is and how animals and humans use it.
The show runs at the Miami Metrozoo through January 10, 2007, before moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The 5,000-square-foot (465-square-meter) exhibition was inspired by Canadian science writer Wayne Lynch's book of the same name, Peeling says. Lynch's ideas, though, have been expanded for a broader audience.
"This is definitely not an exhibit about shock value or being gross or potty talk or any of that stuff," he added.
"The poop part is just a hook. It's not even a word I use in my everyday life."
The exhibition's 15 interactive stations allow visitors to learn how scientists use poop to unravel an animal's biology, how critters use poop to build homes and hide from enemies, and what to do about the growing problem of human waste.
At one station, called the Super Pooper, a visitor can stand on a scale and learn how many hours it would take an African elephant to produce the visitor's weight in dung—about six to eight hours for the average adult.
"It gives people a sense of proportion," Peeling said.
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