ocean bones

Would you believe I’ve found another skull on the beach?

And this isn’t a remote beach in the off season. This is a beachgoers’ beach in the northeastern US, mid-season, not after any kind of storm.

At first I joke that finding all these skulls means I’m cursed; however as a biologist, I sort of feel blessed.

These creatures followed the path we all follow and I was lucky enough to witness the aftermath of their identities. Bones are beautiful.

You may remember the drum fish skull from my previous skull post. This skull seems similar to that one; however it still appeared to have some flesh on it and I was headed back from an evening run, so I didn’t pick it up. Sometimes it just feels right to let something to back to the sea.

I’m hoping to do a more in-depth post on this particular skull in the future. At the time, my only slightly-founded belief is another drum fish; I didn’t do any in-depth searching because I’m on vacation.

However I did bring home some beach treasures! Of particular interest to me are the bat-shaped thingamadoos you’ll see at the righthand end of my ruler here:

Recent ocean treasures found include: one~2 inch muscle, two egg sac "mermaid purses," and two water chestnuts

These things appear to be water chestnuts, likely of the species Trapa natans. (Please feel free to correct me!)

These fruits seem to fit the proper description. The most interesting part of them to me is the striping along the flattest plane, pictured at right in the fruit at the front.

These things look like alien pods.

If you were curious: these are light and mostly hollow, with something rattling about inside (the seed of the aquatic T. natans).

I wonder – according to my several sources, T. natans is a fresh-, calm-water plant. So why’d I find these on the beach in this good of shape?

If I didn’t have wine-and-vacation-brain, I’d put some more thought into that. For now I’m just appreciating the strangeness of the morphology of life.

Speaking of morphology less directly related to the ocean – my latest artistic endeavor is making a pressed-flower collage of flora from my dad’s garden. I’m currently just pressing the flowers and leaves:

Vinca vine, black-eyed susan flower, hasta leaf, unidentified purple flowers, unidentified pale-white flowers from a small tree, two different mint leaves, pink begonias and red begonias plus a begonia leaf
Vinca vine, black-eyed susan flower, hasta leaf, unidentified purple flowers, unidentified pale-white flowers from a small tree, two different mint leaves, pink begonias and red begonias as well as a begonia leaf (dark purple)

Sometimes looking at the beauty around us and considering our own depth of experience, I wonder if evolution is too simplified. The theory of it, I mean. Is our only push to pass on our genes? Is our only push to survive, to survive past our own consciousness in the consciousness of our closest genetic relatives? What evolutionary drive pushes us to pick up treasures by the sea? I wonder. I hope you wonder, too.


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