From prehistoric times,
man has used shells for tools. This practice has been born out by archaeological
findings in ancient sites and still carries on even today. Some examples
of these shell tools are:
dishes, cooking pots and utensils: cutlery, scoops, spatulas,
etc. were often made from bivalves and larger gastropods such as
the bailer (Melo (a Volute), whelk (Family??), Nautilus
and turban (Turbinidae) shells. (Nautilus: Note:
This is an example of where the Scientific and "common" names of
an organism are the same. Sometimes, the common name comes
first, and the person describing the organism just uses it, or turns
it into a Latin word - but sometimes the Scientific name comes first,
and the general public uses it just out of convenience!)
were made from the crystalline stomach style (which the animal uses
to help digest its food) " giant clam" (Tridachna gigas
L.), in the South Pacific.
containers for such things as perfumes, ointments and medicines
were made from some of the larger bivalves and univalves such as the
lamps made from shells are a frequent find throughout the Middle
East. There are examples of these made from bear paw shells (Hippopus
hippopus Linne) and the spider conch (Lambis
spp). They work by holding oil while the wick floats on the surface.
fish lures, octopus lures, hooks and sinkers were made from
abalone, pearl shell and cowries.
Old taco (octopus)
The new taco
lure is still used today for fishing octopus
designed to split and smooth many building and thatching materials
such as palm fronds and bamboo canes.
and axe blades were made from shells with sharpened edges.
and scrapersfor cutting and skinning hides were made from shells
such as the ark shell (family Arcidae) Note:
Many of the "scientific" names of molluscs came from the author's
idea of what the shell looked like. Arcidae, for example, came
from the idea that their shells look like miniature versions of Noah's
Ark! Many of the early "naturalists" (i.e., people who studied
nature) were doctors, and some of the names they gave to interesting
shells are quite "suggestive and naughty", to say the least!)
chisels, scrapers, sanders, etc. were made from various shells
such as the Red Helmet shell (Cassis rufa L.) and were
used in such trades as woodworking, farming and tool making.
such as spearheads and gouges were made from sharpened and shaped
pieces of hard shells such as the Queen conch (Strombus gigas