CRESCERE

Growth in Gastropods is all about geometry. Snail shells are hard and hollow to provide protection. They must also have an opening to allow for feeding and some limited locomotion. The only shape that can grow without changing geometry is the cone, whether it is elliptical, circular or coiled. The shell is constructed from calcium carbonate extracted from the environment bound together with proteins and deposited in precise accumulations mapped out according to each species. So the shape of a shell has an environmental and a genetic component. Gastropods have been around for 500 million years and they are abundant in our fossil record. Upon contemplation the curious mind of Nicolas Steno asked, "How does a solid come to be inside another solid?" This observation led to the idea of a chronology of events in the Earths history at a time when Western man believed that God had created the world in an instant. While I find the evolutionary mechanics of adaptation absolutely fascinating I do not want to live like a gastropod with a hard shell made from an accumulation of accomplishments and the passage of time. We have, like some animals, the capacity to observe, to contemplate and then to act but what might be uniquely human is our sense of awe. We should act on this and nurture this quality, beginning with the close observation of gastropods.

 

Crescere
Crescere
Crescere
Crescere