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faux Nautilus shells

gjbarord

Sepia elegans
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Hi Everyone,

I am hoping to get some good feedback from the community on this possibility. So please give me any suggestions or concerns you may have.

What are the odds that you would purchase a manufactured nautilus shell from a "shell store" or gift shop instead of a real nautilus shell?

The manufactured shell would be nearly identical to a real shell, if not exactly identical. I was also thinking of a little card with the shell explaining the importance of purchasing a replica shell rather than a real one. And depending on the price, some of the money could be placed in a conservation fund for research on nautiluses.

Thanks for your input.

Greg

Tony, was not sure if this could be put out to the entire TONMO community so I just placed it here for now.
 

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
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Mar 17, 2003
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662
I think I would feel about the same way as I do about fake Christmas trees, plastic aquarium plants or artificial corals. I would never purchase a real nautilus shell (or a fake one), but I have several that I have picked up on beaches around the Indo-Pacific. The reason that I keep them is that they remind me of time and place that I found them and if that place is a souvenir store it is not going to cut it.


Roy
 

gjbarord

Sepia elegans
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I have to admit that I have quite a few dead things lying around my office and at home that I have found over the years. So, I really cannot fault anyone else for wanting some of the same things. Like Roy, the things I have remind me of a time and place and mean a lot to me. Likewise, the things people buy in a store may remind them of a time and place. Maybe a fun day at Coney Island... I would like to try and provide an alternative so the individual can make their decision on their own. Many people obviously love purchasing nautilus shells or they would not be over fished. Maybe they would be more inclined to purchase a cheaper alternative if they knew the outcome of purchasing real nautilus shells.

Thanks for the comments so far.

Greg
 

Architeuthoceras

Architeuthis
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As a teaching and/or research aid they would come in handy, especially if all the internal structure of the shell were reproduced. I don't think there is a single fossil cephalopod worker or enthusiast in the world that doesn't have a nautilus shell sitting around to help explain what the fossils preserve. :twocents:
 

ceph

Wonderpus
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Dec 20, 2002
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I probably would not purchase the imitation for the same reasons as Roy described. I might get one as a teaching aid as Kevin mentioned, especially if a model animal was inside it - but that is a much smaller market.

I have purchased a hand blown glass "Nautilus", ammonites and fossil nautilus. Another more sustainable substitute is a good photograph. Why not push to switch to something artistic or natural that already exists?
 

SteveM

Blue Ring
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Jun 13, 2011
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As for offering artificial Nautilus shells in shell stores with a conservationist funding angle, seems like there is enough of a 'green' consumer groundswell that a quality product would find a market. Not for me, however.

To the sustainability issue: Greatly looking forward to Greg’s reports from his imminent survey of Nautilus populations in the Philippines with Peter Ward.

Shell dealers on Cebu cite the mother-of-pearl inlay industry as the meaningful entirety of Nautilus demand, shell collectors (and paleontology professors!) representing the proverbial needle in a haystack. The threat is the same of course, probably dwarfed in any case by the advent of anoxic oceans resulting from human activity much farther afield.

As a personal observation from one relatively recent to the literature, the oft-cited Tañon Strait decimation of Nautilus from overfishing would appear to have unique elements. Tañon is a singularly enclosed and shallow environment, the Nautiluses sitting ducks within easy trapping range (not to mention right in the Cebu shell dealers’ backyard). Might this natural disaster have even ironically provided a useful reinforcement of Nautilus’s deep-water gene pool, credited with its survival of K-T and prior mass extinctions in the first place?

Just food for thought.
 
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