After Life – The Strange Science of Decay

Interesting to see the programme After Life : The Strange Science of Decay on BBC Four the other day. The BBC built a sealed domestic environment at Edinburgh Zoo and placed many everyday objects (food, dead animals, pests) into the environment and left it all to rot/decay for a couple of months.

Some key points of the documentary include:

  • The Sexton Beetles that burried a dead rat within a couple of hours to use as food/housing for their offspring.
  • The single celled mould/jelly that was able to build a near optimal network of paths between sources of food placed in the environment. Good to see that this is being investigated by Computer Scientists to see what lessons can be learned for planning/problem solving applications.
  • The Fly Trap where many of the flies in the environment had unexpectedly ended up in a bottle of wine.