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January 14, 2002

Fluorescent fauna of the Pleistocene
Posted by Teresa at 08:00 PM *

As Debra Doyle informed me, moose are fluorescent — or rather, them being semi-aquatic and having all this long coarse hair that little aquatic bio-bits get caught in, it’s the animalcules resident in their coats that do the fluorescing. Still, the effect is the same: under a black light, moose glow in the dark.

I mentioned this in e-mail to my friend Bob Webber, and he wrote back saying “Sloths, too.” We didn’t discuss the mechanism of slothful fluorescence; I assume it’s similar.

That’s been kicking around in my head for some while now, and a question has occurred to me: Didn’t mammoths have just such long coarse pelts and boggy habits? Might not they, too, have glowed in the dark?

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