Alberta rolls out special glow-in-the-dark dinosaur coin

Alberta has upped the quarter ante by swapping the familiar caribou with a glow-in-the-dark dinosaur — making it the first Canadian coin you can find at the bottom of your purse without a flashlight.

The new 25-cent piece, set to roll out of the Royal Canadian Mint on April 16, features the Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai, a giant herbivore whose partial remains were discovered in Grand Prairie by science teacher Al Lakusta in 1974. The dinosaur carries his name.

The application of photo-luminescent technology on the dinosaur's embossed surface means the moment it gets dark, the dino starts to glow.

Three more dinosaurs are set to follow in the special collection, appropriately called Prehistoric Creatures. They will retail for $29.95 at most Canada Post outlets.

On Sunday, Lakusta told the Edmonton Journal he was excited to see the finished product.

"I think almost anybody who reads about it thinks, 'We can't wait to try this,' " he said, adding that he planned to pick one up for his 10-year-old grandson.

Nearly four decades ago, Lakusta and a friend were hiking around Pipestone Creek in the province's Peace Country when he spotted what looked like rib fragments.

"Finding a dinosaur bone fragment in a creek bed is not that easy," he told the Journal.

"It's the same colour as the rock, but after you find the first piece, the second one is much easier, because you know what to look for."

Reconstructed, paleontologists ascertained that the creature measured eight metres in length and tipped the scale at an impressive four tonnes. Atop its enormous head sprang a crown of bone and small horns.

It was Lakusta's discovery that would lead scientists to eventually declare the area to be the richest horned dinosaur bed in the world.

Plans to build a museum in Wembley, Alberta that features the dinosaurs discovered in the vicinity are now underway, and the retired teacher hopes the coins will go toward raising funds for the building's construction.

(Photos from mint.ca)