God-sent pearls...I feel like staring at God's mind when I see these amazingly beautiful patterns in these pearls: like watching the Hubble's imagery from the Universe. I just see some of that cosmic splendor packed up in Steve's small orbs of mistery.
Alois Kieslinger was one of the early 20th century's most prominent paleontologists and stratigraphers upon graduation from the University of Vienna in the early 1920s. He participated in the Second Netherlands Expedition to Timor in 1916 and based his post-graduate work on this, in the process naming several new species of Triassic Nautiloids.
Kieslinger later went on to utilize his groundbreaking research into rock weathering to apply himself to monument preservation, beginning with the Parthenon in Athens, and Vienna's own Ringstrasse.
On a tip buried deeply within a Swiss fossil collector's website, I researched Kieslinger's work for evidence of a mysterious Nautiloid fossil pearl—not a blister as seen in recent publicity posted by Pearly Shell on another thread. I was lucky enough to find the paper online after several days, including a detailed description and illustration of the specimen.
Below you will see Kieslinger's illustration (photo?), a modern Nautilus spiral section and my juxtaposition of the two as a means of reconstructing the missing body chamber of the fossil and to position the pearl (or blister pearl) anatomically.
Specimen is Pleuronautilus pseudoplanilateratus KIESL. 1924. This is a true Nautiloid ancestor of the modern Nautilus, not an Ammonite, from the Triassic Period (200 MYA).
Remarkably, the loss of the last whorl and body chamber matrix has exposed the actual shell of the inner whorl, the pearl likely to be actual fossilized shell material.
In his text, Kieslinger states that he did not touch or section the pearl in any way (it belonged to the expedition financiers in any case), as it was so totally unique. Like Willey's Pearl (and Haynes' Pearl), we are in pursuit of this specimen—as it is likely to still exist—in order to subject it to modern non-invasive investigation techniques. It may be in Vienna, or the Netherlands.
(Spirit of Nautilus strikes again, as one may compare this pathology
with our shell with blister pearl from earlier in the thread…)
Updating Haynes' Pearl: Towards the end of his life, in 1924 (coincident to Kieslinger's work above!), Haynes presented an enlightened discourse on pearl formation to The Malacological Society, reported in The Journal of Molluscan Studies, the most prestigious scientific journal in its field to this day. Having held the pearl since its acquisition from the Sultanate of Sulu in 1884, the article lists it as having been sectioned (sacrificed) for 'photomicrography.' Unfortunately, the illustrative plates are not included in the downloaded pdf. Fortunately, we are in contact with a prominent member of the board of JMS, and fully anticipate receipt of the missing images soon.
Last edited by smetzler; 04-25-2011 at 10:10 PM.
I have changed the image in my prior post as it turns out my comparison of the modern Nautilus Pompilius shell with the Pleuronautilus fossil/pearl was not finished.
The shell umbilicals (central 'eye') had not been matched. Upon doing so plus a little extra sizing and rotation…
My original effort is retained below left vs. the finished version on the right.
The perfect match, given over 200 million years of evolutionary trial and error separating Nautilus Pompilius and Pleuronautilus, is completely mind boggling.
Last edited by smetzler; 04-25-2011 at 10:19 PM.
Last edited by smetzler; 04-28-2011 at 09:18 PM.
If only there were affordable home versions of electron microscopes. <sigh>
Last edited by GemGeek; 04-28-2011 at 11:20 PM.
The World Is My Oyster!
Trying to limit posting to significant developments, yet a new acquisition merits inclusion. This 23-carat, 12.9 x 18.1mm perfect drop surfaced recently and takes its place as the centerpiece of my little collection of these unique pearls. It is a wonder of symmetry and alive with swirling clouds and sparkling lights encased in a translucent sheen.
Unique is an understatement for what I have named M. Abominabilis, claimed as Nautilus by Indo-Pacific fishermen. Consisting of an aragonite microstructure not known to be produced by any mollusk of pearl-producing size, these pearls comprise a mystery that is still far from being solved.
So we must simply enjoy.
MAGNIFICENT!!! It is simply stunning Steve... I am speechless!!! Will you bring this one to the Ruckus??? I would understand if you don't (the risks of losing it) but it would be simply amazing to see and touch it.
I so agree with Douglas! A marvelous pearl and a large one too!
SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----
Over five months without a post on the Nautilus thread. It was time!
The science faculty at University of Granada with whom I continue to work on the Nautilus enigma pushed me into entering a Spanish national science photography contest with an image that first appeared on this thread. The contest includes public participation, a 16GB iPad2 with WiFi to be given to a randomly-selected voter.
LINK, photo is under 'General' (non-microscopic) and my photo and brief scientific background are at the bottom of Page 8, titled 'Perla Marina de Aragonito Foliado.'
I will post an English translation of the text ASAP, just wanted to get this up now for all those in a voting mood tomorrow. Vote for me, vote for Pearl-Guide, vote for an iPad…but vote!
Results will be known in early December.
Last edited by smetzler; 11-08-2011 at 02:37 AM.
Translation so I can figure out how to vote, yes! What a cool collection, but I know who has the coolest photo of all!
The World Is My Oyster!
Translation of FotCiencia9 entry, plus image. This small article has the benefit of 'peer review' by Biology, Paleontology and Physics faculty at University of Granada. I have alluded to the unique aragonite microstructure composition in quite a few prior posts, here you have its official name.
Foliated Aragonite Pearl
Natural pearl of symmetrical shape, 15 mm wide by 11.2 mm in height, weighing 3.48 g, photographed using transmitted light. Country of origin, Indonesia. The composition is aragonite of biological origin, produced by a marine mollusk. The microstructure (per crystallographic analysis pending publication) can be defined as foliated aragonite.
Foliated aragonite has only been observed in the shells of Triblidiida (Mollusca, usually known as monoplacophorans) as well as in mollusk fossils of the Cambrian era. It is a shell microstructure similar to sheet nacre, growing horizontally in terraced fronts. In fact, it is likely that foliated aragonite is the evolutionary precursor of nacre. Unlike nacre, foliated aragonite has no interlamellar organic membranes, leaving the biomineral material translucent.
Pearl origin in modern Triblidiida is ruled out, since this class has a shell of insufficient size and is exceedingly rare. Confirmation of mollusk origin is the subject of ongoing investigations, and may have implications for the deep phylogeny of Phylum Mollusca.