Sorting shells on the sea-shore
Stella M. Turk MBE
When shells galore have come ashore
They are caught in a strandline sort.
The shape of valves dictate this sift
Influenced by long-shore drift,
Currents, winds and tides
Moving valves to different sides.
A paper* in 1958 discussed the ‘left/right phenomenon’ exhibited by valves of different shape, weight and structure, depending on the species. The author showed that a statistically significant number of right and left valves were separately grouped on the strandline. *Lever, J. 1958. ‘The left-right phenomenon’ Basteria volume 22.
However, is there any significance in the avowedly non-apocryphal story that according to Nick Darke, beachcomber extraordinaire, that there are more left-hand than right-hand gloves to be found on his local beach in Cornwall.
Stella M Turk MBE
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