Four colors screen printed on dark gray 100% cotton American Apparel shirt. Features illustration from recent publication from marine biologist, Helen Scales, "Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells" + Spirals in Time hardcover book! Perfect stuffings for any stocking!
Merry Mollusk Holiday Combo
About the book:
Seashells are the sculpted homes of a remarkable group of animals: the molluscs. These are some of the most ancient and successful animals on the planet.
But watch out. Some molluscs can kill you if you eat them. Some will kill you if you stand too close. That hasn't stopped people using shells in many ways over thousands of years. They became the first jewelry and oldest currencies; they've been used as potent symbols of sex and death, prestige and war, not to mention a nutritious (and tasty) source of food.
Spirals in Time is an exuberant aquatic romp, revealing amazing tales of these undersea marvels. Helen Scales leads us on a journey into their realm, as she goes in search of everything from snails that 'fly' underwater on tiny wings to octopuses accused of stealing shells and giant mussels with golden beards that were supposedly the source of Jason's golden fleece, and learns how shells have been exchanged for human lives, tapped for mind-bending drugs and inspired advances in medical technology. Weaving through these stories are the remarkable animals that build them, creatures with fascinating tales to tell, a myriad of spiralling shells following just a few simple rules of mathematics and evolution.
Shells are also bellwethers of our impact on the natural world. Some species have been overfished, others poisoned by polluted seas; perhaps most worryingly of all, molluscs are expected to fall victim to ocean acidification, a side-effect of climate change that may soon cause shells to simply melt away. But rather than dwelling on what we risk losing, Spirals in Time urges you to ponder how seashells can reconnect us with nature, and heal the rift between ourselves and the living world.
About the illustration:
Sixty five million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, the tentacular kings of the seas were the Giant Ammonites of the genus, Parapuzosia; massive mollusks who were the evolutionary grandfathers of today's giant squids and octopuses. The biggest difference between them and most of today's living cephalopods, though, was the presence of a massive, hard, whorled shell, similar in shape to the shells we see made by both terrestrial and aquatic snails today.
But imagine a snail shell six feet across, or even larger! The largest known species of ammonites is the Parapuzosia seppenradensis, which roamed the seas of the late Cretaceous. The biggest fossil shell ever found was from Germany and measured 5.9 ft across! Wilder still is the fact that the shell was incomplete and would have been larger if fully intact, so animals with armored homes larger than six feet were very much possible. This armored giant squid would have traveled in open water, using a jet type propulsion - similar to today's cephalopods - to swim either in a backwards motion, or up and down in the water column. Though speed most likely wasn't his biggest asset, this beast was certainly a carnivore capable of catching substantial prey, ranging from other ammonites, large fish, occasionally smaller sharks, and even some marine reptiles.
Though he was a formidable predator, the Parapuzosia seppenradnesis would have been on the menu for many Cretaceous predators even larger than him, like massive marine reptiles in the Mosasaur and Plesiosaur families, and the shell crushing behemoth, Ptychodus, a huge shark whose strange, grinding flat teeth would have made short work of even the biggest Parapuzosia shell.