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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Pearly shells

Here is a very, very late addition to Sepia Saturday #354. The prompt photo brings to mind the tongue twister "She sells sea shells by the sea shore", which as I recently discovered was inspired by Mary Anning, the fossil collector, dealer and paleontologist from Lyme Regis in Dorset, who died almost 170 years ago, aged only 47. Mary began collecting as a young  girl and made many important marine fossil discoveries in her relatively short life. She didn't receive a great deal of credit for her achievements back then but they have been recognised since. You can read more about her here using this link to the Lyme Regis Museum.

Mary Anning

I don't have any shop photographs that I haven't already posted, but I thought people might like to see some photos of my own small shell collection. I didn't know much about identifying the different types of shells, I just liked their beauty and pretty colours, their patterns and symmetry, and I still do. They include for example cowries, scallops (the fan shaped shells), paua shell, sea urchins, cones, conches and horns.

 I've had some of these shells since collecting them as a child on the beaches of southern NSW, during our annual family camping holidays.


This large mother of pearl shell underneath the other three was given to me by my sister back in the days when she and her husband sailed around the Pacific islands en route from California to New Zealand in their small wooden boat. 

 I'm not sure where I found the fossil that looks like the imprint of two shells, but it may have come from a site at Pialligo near the Canberra airport, where fossil hunting and collecting is probably no longer possible.

I know some beaches these days have notices saying that collecting shells is not allowed, but hopefully this is not the case everywhere, and that shell collecting remains a simple pleasure for children fossicking along the shore line.

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