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Jewels of the sea

 

JEWELS OF THE SEA: MOLLUSCS

 

The sea conceals many jewels and treasures. Who hasn’t ever looked for shells on the beach and been surprised by the rich variety of shapes and colours?

Molluscs are soft-bodied invertebrates that are often protected by a shell. They form part of a highly diverse, evolutionarily successful group that has managed to colonise a large variety of environments on the planet. Clams, oysters, squids, octopuses, slugs and snails are some of the best-known examples.

There has been interest in molluscs, particularly seashells, throughout human existence since time immemorial. They have always been an important source of food all over the planet and have also been used as tools to cut skin and other materials or to communicate over distance. Their use in the making of jewellery also goes back a long way and pierced shells to make necklaces and other ornaments have been discovered in many archaeological sites. They have also been studied as transmitters of numerous human parasitic diseases.

In this permanent exhibition, without leaving Barcelona, you can see some of the most exotic and amazing shells ever discovered and the tools that malacologists use to study these invertebrates.

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