Friday, March 21, 2014

Museum Missive #1 OR Reports from the bowels of the Burke

The Burke Museum was recently gifted a 100,000 piece shell collection - the Nudelman collection named after the donor. 


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:

Commence slideshow!

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.

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