Why is it that the sound of the ocean can be heard inside seashells? And why do seashells have such beautiful patterns on them? All of your seashell queries can finally be answered at the Tsailiao Fossil Museum in Greater Tainan when you visit the “Beauty of Seashells Exhibit.” The world’s largest and most precious and unique seashells are on display at the museum, giving people a chance to become better acquainted with seashell cultures and mysteries.
The exhibit will be on display at the Tsailiao Fossil Museum in Zuojhen District until September 23. National Taiwan Museum (NTM) has provided the exhibit with more than 300 seashell specimens from its collection, which includes many unique seashells. There is an area to touch seashells, a film about living Rumphius’ slit shells, as well as information about the relationship between seashells and human culture. Among the items on display, Lai Ching-yang, a member of NTM’s administrative committee for managing its collection, says that the Rumphius’ slit shell on display at the museum, which is valued at NT$380,000, is the most expensive slit shell not only in Taiwan, but in the entire world. Due to their scarcity and as they live very deep in the ocean, finding a Rumphius’ slit shell is far from easy, making them extremely valuable. Some of the Rumphius’ slit shell’s main characteristics include how its shape resembles that of a clock, as well as its long cracks, and the gorgeous flame-like patterns on its surface.
Lai says that although the world’s fourth Rumphius’ slit shell was discovered off the coast of southwestern Taiwan in 1968 by a local fisherman, a Japanese aquarium eventually purchased the shell, making the one preserved on display in Taiwan now even more precious and rare.
1. query n.
疑問 (yi2 wen4)
例: The students had many queries after class.
2. specimen n.
標本 (biao1 ben3)
例: The specimens were taken back to the lab for further analysis.
3. scarcity n.
稀少；缺乏 (xi1 shao3; que1 fa2)
例: UN experts say that without restructuring the fishing industry, there will be a serious scarcity of fish in the sea by 2050.
Also on display is the world’s largest mollusk, the giant clam, which Lai says can reach up to 1.4m. There is also a replica of the NTM building that was made using more than 20,000 seashells.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)