Yonder Biology, a company typically known for making colorful prints based on a person’s DNA, is aiming to teach children about biology with its latest mixture of art and science. The new Dino Pet is a clear plastic dinosaur filled with bioluminescent algae that glow in the dark, so it can act as night light as well as a fun learning tool. The shaping of the toy, which looks like a Apatosaurus, was originally inspired by the word “Dino” from its material used which is dinoflagellates. This interactive toy gets its glow from the Pyrocystis fusiformis species of marine algae. This species emit blue light when shaken for a short amount of time.
Researchers have been testing for the amount of volume that is needed and the shape of the container which allows it to glow even brighter. They have settled on a polyethylene-based plastic as its material for the container and an shape that looks like an animated form of Apatosaurus which contains 500ml(17oz) mixture of dinoflagellates, saltwater and nutrients.
The mixture itself is not that hard to take care of. The dinoflagellates just need need to be left in a room with either a low-watt bulb or indirect sunlight for about 10-12 hours and kept at a temperature between 65 and 75° F (18 to 24° C). It has a lifespan of three months but can be extended indefinitely by adding nutrients to its container and changing water regularly.