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Creatures of Light

April 29, 2012

If you get to New York this year, don’t miss the Natural History museum exhibit, Creatures of Light. A fantastic collection of modeled creatures showing bioluminescence; that is they light up like in Avatar.

What’s remarkable is the wide range of reasons why creatures light up. This Science article explains a few:

  • An octopus’s suckers evolved into light organs, apparently to lure prey
  • A jellyfish lights up blue, under attack–to lure predators to its attacker
  • A fish eye fluoresces green and focuses the fluorescence onto its retina, for more sensitive detection
  • Another jellyfish lights up as camouflage, to appear from below as the same brightness as light from above

Other interesting examples?

One Comment
  1. April 29, 2012 7:50 pm

    Joan, the older I get the more I see Arthur C. Clarke’s point, about our space exploration being a bit of cart-before-the-horse, since we haven’t really studied two-thirds of our own planet yet. So many sci-fi things in the deep–creatures that aren’t carbon-based, pressures that would crush a person, more total protection required the farther in one ventures… it’s just downward-facing-space (for yoga folks-haha). Great recommendation, thanks.

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