by Hayley Pontia
Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s collection of mollusks is home to about 3 million specimens that include more land and freshwater snails from Pennsylvania and its adjacent states than all other U.S. museums combined.
What are mollusks you ask? They are one of the most diverse groups of animals on the planet. They have a soft body with a ‘head’ and ‘tail’ region. Their bodies are most commonly covered in a hard exoskeleton, but some can even have their shells on the inside.
You may know the most common mollusks without even knowing they are mollusks: snails, clams, octopuses, scallops, oysters, and even squids are all part of this phylum. Many people are around these animals, yet know very little about them.
As assistant curator and head of mollusks at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Tim Pearce spends a lot of time researching and understanding these specimens. Every second Saturday, Pearce gives tours of the collection found in the basement of the museum for those interested in learning more about these unique species.
Hayley Pontia is the marketing assistant at Carnegie Museum of Natural History and a student at the University of Pittsburgh. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences of working at the museum.