Some Interesting Known and Unknown Facts About Shells

  • Sangeeta M. Sonak


Shells are important to the living organism that produce them as well as to humans in several ways. Importance of molluscan shells to living organisms, coastal processes, in reconstructions of climatic conditions of the atmosphere, providing links to evolution, biostratigraphy, studying human behaviour of hominins and hominids, in human use such as currency, clothing, dyes, drugs and medicines, as well as in rituals and ceremonies, history and mythology, religion, and human culture is described in the chapter. Use of Indian conch shell, which is believed to resonate sound of Om, the origin of cosmic sound vibrations, is described briefly. One of the weirdest uses of sea shells in history has been in assassination attempts that are described here. The chapter also comments on significance of shell symbols. Further, some literary works demonstrate importance of marine shells in expanding our knowledge of palaeontology, evolution and geology. The chapter refers to a few of such literary works on shells, their writers and cite some of their writings to showcase contribution of marine shells in uncovering mysteries of nature, validating different hypotheses, exposing some theories that were then existent and enlightening scientists with the secrets of Mother Earth. The chapter concludes with some examples of idioms and proverbs using shells, either as metaphor, or euphemism or any other figure of speech to communicate meaningfully.


Human use Evolution Biostratigraphy Climatic condition Anthropology Geology Literature Idioms and proverbs 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Environment and Natural Resource Management (CENRM)PanajiIndia
  2. 2.SRUJANCaranzalemIndia

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