Nautilus Shell; 1989.17.32
Nautilus ShellAbout this object
Shell of a Chambered Nautilus - unchanged for 450 million years and is one of the only shells to survive from the Dinosaurs era. This animal is a member of the squid & octopus family. It lives on the ocean floor and is built to withstand the pressure of depths of thousands of metres. It has an eye with a pinhole which can cope with such pressures. It feeds on crabs on the ocean floor and squid at the top. When alive the animal has 50 tentacles which stick out of the shell from its inbuilt jet-propulsion unit. It extracts Argon Gas (similar to fridge gas) from the ocean and can turn this to liquid almost instantly to become negatively bouyant, rocketing up to the surface or down to the depths.
If it was split open we would see spiralling chambers inside linked by a tube with carries the argon gas through itself. It lives open side up, with the tentacles flowing behind it and eyes nestled in the small grooves, one on each side.
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