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  • Whole Clam

    Found this in maybe 1989...Massachusetts. Only ever found one, people here have piles of them.
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    Massachusetts

  • #2
    Steinkern!
    Professor Shellman
    Tampa Bay

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    • #3
      Locals have lotsa masons full, huh?.....just like Edisitonian Islanders/ frequent visitors have jars and jars of tiny fossilized sharks’ teeth! How very cool! (your locals walk around standard bent waist, humpy shoulders, and hands clasped behind their back?…)
      Digging in GA, ‘bout a mile from the Savannah River

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      • Islandpicker
        Islandpicker commented
        Editing a comment
        Masons of sharks teeth here, too, though not me.

    • #4
      Neat. Its from a brachiopod. Unlike bivalve molluscs such as clams, the shell is hinged at the rear end for top/bottom opening rather than at the side for left/right opening. They're not closely related.
      I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

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      • Islandpicker
        Islandpicker commented
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        Still tasty with lemon and Tobasco I bet! Kidding aside, thanks for the info. Any guess on age?

    • #5
      The age (if it can be determined) will depend on exactly where you found it... ie what strata it has likely come out of. The Palaeontological record for what is now Massachusetts is broadly this:

      During the early part of the Palaeozoic (from the beginning of the Cambrian c.540 million years ago to the end of the Devonian c.360 mya) Massachusetts was covered by a warm shallow sea. That environment was rich in brachiopods until the late Devonian extinction of c.375 mya which killed off most marine life, followed by a slow recovery.

      Although some brachiopods survived, there are no known fossils in Massachusetts from the later Palaeozoic (from the beginning of the Carboniferous c.360 mya through to the end of the Permian c.250 mya) at which time there was another extinction event, killing off around 80% of all marine species.

      By the beginning of the Cretaceous c.145 mya Massachusetts was at the edge of a shallow sea with a coastal plain occupying what is now the Elizabeth Islands and Martha’s Vineyard. There are then no rock strata from the Palaeogene after the end of the Cretaceous (c.66mya – c.23 mya) nor from the early Neogene (which began c.23mya and ended c.2.6 mya).

      I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

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      • Islandpicker
        Islandpicker commented
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        So it seems that it is, as we say in Massachusetts, wicked old. It was picked up on the surface from the Gay Head cliffs on Marthas Vineyard. We loved tossing different color clay "bombs" into the water to watch the colors flow together, this one felt weird, so I looked at it before I threw it, a wise choice. Thanks for the history.

    • #6
      Nice fossil. Do you like whole belly clams. Or strips?
      SW Connecticut

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      • Islandpicker
        Islandpicker commented
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        Whole belly, the only way to go. Fried, raw, steamed, can't get enough.

      • redrocks
        redrocks commented
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        Me too now I'm wanting some ..thx

    • #7
      Brachiopods are still around today but their edibility is a matter of opinion. Generally they’re small and have a lower proportion of fleshy material than bivalve molluscs, which is also tougher and requires a lot more cooking. Even if you’re prepared to put in the effort to harvest the flesh, the flavour is a bit of an acquired taste, ranging from “disgusting” to, at best, “sweet but hay/straw-like”. They also seem to be distasteful to most predators. Many of them carry significant food-poisoning risks arising from their feeding habits.

      Brachiopods divide into two groups: “articulate” (with a simple opening/closing mechanism via toothed hinges on the shell); and “inarticulate” (with a complex muscle arrangement to keep the two valves of the shell aligned). Only inarticulate brachiopods have any significant history of consumption since they generally have a larger “peduncle” (a fleshy structure that protrudes from the shell) and notably those classified as “Linguliform”, like this (Lingula species):


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      It’s that fleshy ‘stalk’ which provides pretty much the entirety of the edible portion but you’re unlikely to see these on the menu outside Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, parts of Indonesia or Fiji.
      I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

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      • SDhunter
        SDhunter commented
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        No thanks. I’ll have a cheeseburger!

      • Islandpicker
        Islandpicker commented
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        Again, an amazing wealth of information. I have seen first hand the strange and disgusting things eaten in SE Asia so I am not surprised! Thanks for all the help, now I can beef up my story about this one...if anyone ever asks
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