Answer to the Friday Whatsit for November 19, 2010
Congratulations to April, Kaleigh and Murph who all guessed that this was a clam shell. Judging from the shape I think it may actually be a scallop, but what the hey, we’re all friends here.
I would have also accepted “shell”, “some kind of shell” and “hey, that looks like that thing my uncle Ernie has in his bathroom.” Why does the seascape stuff always end up in the bathroom?
And for the educational aspect of our post, two fun facts about scallops.
1) The part that we eat is not the whole animal, it’s just the adductor muscle it uses to hold the two halves of its shell together. Contracting this muscle lets the scallop clap the two halves of its shell and move through the water (obscure YouTube video alert!). 2) Scallops have eyes. This one has blue eyes. I don’t think anyone has worked out quite how well they see, but their eyes are surprisingly sophisticated for a simple animal.
For more fun facts about scallops (and some tasty recipes) visit FishWatch, the National Marine Fisheries Service website run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) here in the United States.