National Geographic : 1955 Mar
<- Hebrew Volute of the Pacific, shown life-size in X-ray, takes its name from patterns resembling He brew letters. Aristocrats among shells, the volutes are cherished by collectors for elaborate markings and graceful lines. + + Atlantic Deer Cow rie, largest of the world's highly polished and elegant cowries, attains a 6-inch length. This X-ray shows in life size a thin inner shell and a strengthened, toothed lip. <+ Giant Marginella of Brazil, though only 3 inches long, is a Goliath in a pygmy family. Some species measure 10 to the inch. Marginella's cream-colored porce laneous exterior hides a surprising wealth of internal sculpture. 430 I. L. Lane X-rays Reveal Delicate and Sinuous Beauty Hiding Within a Shell's Hard Walls Since ancient times man has gathered seashells to eat the mollusks living within and to use the outer skeletons as tools, ornaments, and money. Costly dye from the murex shell supported the Phoenicians' commercial empire. Today business in shells for jewelers, button manufacturers, and collectors runs into several million dollars. Meanwhile molluscan shipworms wreak tremendous damage to wooden vessels and wharfs. X-ray study of shipworm damage led Dr. C. E. Lane to photography of shells. The pictures disclose rare loveliness; they also help explain the wonderful manner in which mollusks enlarge their homes.