Last fall, a weasel failed to read the warning signs and crossed a fence guarding CERN's Large Hadron Collider. The stone marten was immediately zapped with 18,000 volts, and the incident shut down the collider temporarily. Now the corpse of that hapless creature is on display in an exhibition called Dead Animal Tales at the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The exhibit looks at animals that died due to circumstances caused by humans, one way or another. Kees Moeliker is the director of the museum.
The stone marten is the latest dead animal to go on display at the museum. It joins a sparrow that was shot after it sabotaged a world record attempt by knocking over 23,000 dominoes; a hedgehog that got fatally stuck in a McDonalds McFlurry pot, and a catfish that fell victim to a group of men in the Netherlands who developed a tradition for drinking vast amounts of beer and swallowing fish from their aquarium. The catfish turned out to be armoured, and on being swallowed raised its spines. The defence did not save the fish, but it put the 28-year-old man who tried to swallow it in intensive care for a week.
It was another unfortunate incident that spurred Moeliker to establish the exhibition in the first place. In 1995, a male duck flew into the glass facade of the museum and died on impact, a fate that did not deter another male duck from raping the corpse for 75 minutes. The incident ruffled feathers in the community but earned Moeliker a much-coveted IgNobel prize when he published his observations . “I was the one and only witness,” Moeliker said. “I’m a trained biologist but what I saw was completely new to me.”