Correction: Plankton are awesome

In Before the Lights Go Out, my new book about the future of energy, I made a joke about the formation of fossil fuels that I would like to rescind.

"All three fossil fuels come from the same place—ancient plants and animals that died and were buried beneath layers of earth and rock, often millions of years before dinosaurs roamed this planet. (That's right. Oil isn't made from dinosaurs. But an apatosaurus makes a better corporate mascot than a phytoplankton does.)"

After watching this video about the secret lives of plankton, produced by TEDEducation and marine biologist Tierney Thys, I feel that the above statement is in error. Clearly, plankton—including phytoplankton, which are just tiny plants, as opposed to zooplankton, which are tiny animals—would make excellent mascots. Somebody at Standard Oil really dropped the ball on this one.

Side Note: I found this video through a link to The Kid Should See This, a blog that aggregates kid-friendly wonders from science, art, technology, and more. If you aren't reading it, you should be. Even if you don't have kids.

Via Jason Robertshaw

Video Link



  1.  I cannot resist this opportunity to mention that sunfish (mola mola) are classified as plankton due to their inability to swim against currents.

  2. You can say “Apatosaurus” all you want but we all know the Sinclair dinosaur was an effing BRONTOSAURUS!

    Brontosaurus! Yeah!

  3. Phytoplankton are actually tiny protists and bacteria, not plants! Protists are also awesome. Evidence: slime molds.

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