This cute little guy is the Dino Pet – a toy, a friend, and a science project in one. As the website states: “The Dino Pet is a new kind of pet that photosynthesizes during the day and glows brilliantly when you play with it at night. The alluring blue light emitted by the Dino Pet is bioluminescence, made from the dinoflagellates — a type of plankton — found within the apatosaurus-shaped aquarium. By using sunlight, water, and nutrients, instead of batteries and electricity, the Dino Pet allows you to hold one of nature’s most magical occurrences in the palm of your hand. Far more than a toy, the Dino Pet is a living art piece, introductory pet, biological magic trick, conversation starter, and science lesson, all rolled into one.” They are available on the Touch of Modern website.
What are dinoflagellates, you ask? They are actually tiny animals called plankton, and look like the picture on the left. The ones we’re talking about here are bioluminescent plankton – they can actually glow in the dark. The word “bioluminescence,” comes from “bio,” meaning life, and “lumin,” meaning light. Most of these plankton glow blue, but a few can glow green, red, or orange. To read more about these fascinating creatures, visit National Geographic’s Education page on bioluminescence, here