Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cephalopods : The Nautilus

Don't ask me why but for some reason i have become obsessed by cephalopods. I have a small Ammonite fossil given to me as a present by my dad when i was 12 ... to the uninitiated it looks like a few snail shells embedded in grey rock. Ammonites went extinct along with the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago but their relative- the Nautilus- survives as a "living fossil" - apparently unchanged in form. It only needs to eat a meal every few weeks- perhaps this explains it's success.

Essentially it is a cuttlefish stuck in a shell. The shells have a regular, mathematical beauty ... but the squid-bit is pretty ugly. Unlike it's relatives the Octopus and the Cuttlefish - it's eye is rather simple - 'pinhole' in nature and without a lens.

What an otherworldly thing it is ... but look at the anatomy- it's got a heart, a kidney a mouth and an anus just like ours. When the real Aliens come they are going to make this thing look like a close cousin.

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