July 24, 2017

The Answer to Animal, Plant, Mineral, or Man-Made: #4

Take one last look at the mystery picture for the week of July 24…

Clue: The beach is a great place for horsing around, but be careful not to leave trash behind!

Now scroll to the bottom of the page to discover the answer.

Remember to take home all your belongings! Image courtesy Emma Bueren.

It’s a My Little Pony figurine that was found discarded on the beach at MBARI.

Remember to keep an eye on all your belongings at the beach—especially if they might gallop away. After some intrepid searching on the web, we’ve determined this toy is a 2014 Twilight Sparkle figurine from the “Rainbow Power” collection. It was likely lost during too much fun in the sun but not to worry; it’s found a new home in the science communication interns’ office

There’s no way to know what type of plastic this figurine is made of, but most plastics take years or even centuries to degrade. One of the most common plastics used in toy figurines is high-impact polystyrene, a sturdier type of styrofoam. Regular styrofoam, like packing peanuts or disposable thermal cups, can take up to 50 years in perfect conditions to degrade. Even thin plastic bags can take up to 20 years to degrade on the ocean floor and, in the meantime, can often harm or even kill marine animals which might mistake the bags for lunch. Remember to leave nothing but footprints on the beach so it’s clean and healthy for the years to come.

Congratulations to Rachel Kahn for being the first to guess right!

Runners up: Amanda Dahl, Chris Preston, and Margaret Hall.

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