The Burke Museum was recently gifted a 100,000 piece shell collection - the Nudelman collection named after the donor.
One HUNDRED THOUSAND shells.
I don't have that many of anything, let alone rare natural history artifacts.
So, who better to tour this testament to obsession with natural beauty (slashImeanawesomeshellcollection) with with than people who know a thing or two about shells?! I had the chance to join the incredibly well-informed folks at the Pacific Northwest Shell Club. I might know a thing or two about snail behavior and ecology, but dang, these people know their shells! The word "encyclopedic" comes to mind.
***Insert soapbox here about how systematists are a dying breed! and how I am a part of the problem***
Ok but even though I knew only vaguely what I was looking at, I felt like a kid in a candy store! Like I was tiptoeing through the tulips.
Here are some pictures. I will apologize in advance that they are all Hipstagram, but I only had my phone with me and the light was terrible in there:
|Figure 1. Stellaria solaris. Just .... there is nothing.|
|Figure 2. Onustus exutus (accepted name: WoRMS).|
|Figure 3. This exists. Did you know that? |
I actually forget what it is (why I will never be a good collector)
|Figure 4. There were just drawers full of theses things,|
and then boxes that hadn't even been opened yet.
I think 6 years of working with ugly little mud snails really has primed me to just gawk at these things. Really, I could just sit there and sigh all day.
Figures 1, 2, and 4, are species from the family Xenophoridae - which I will feature in a coming post, because, as I've hinted at in FIgure 4, they do cool stuff with calcium.