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1 Jan 2022
Nautilus (Tomás Tyner)

The nautilus is known as a living fossil, an ancient lineage stemming back over 500 million years, long before dinosaurs walked the earth.

These extraordinary creatures are shelled cephalopods, related to squid and octopus. The shell allows the nautilus to control its buoyancy, and dive or ascend at will by governing the volume and density of water within its shell chambers; perhaps it is this which inspired the name of the submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The nautilus is a nocturnal scavenger, swimming using water jet propulsion. Having survived the five mass extinctions these beautiful creatures are now threatened by habitat loss and trade for their shells. In an effort to enhance protections nautilus species have been added to CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species), effective since 2017.

UCC Natural Collections