Anelise Chen is the Daily’s newest correspondent. Her column will explore the scientific phylum Mollusca. This week, a clam has an identity crisis.
She hadn’t meant to become a bivalve mollusk, but it happened. Last fall, after a rib-bruising bike crash caused by momentary inattentiveness and conditions of reduced visibility (sobbing while cycling) the mollusk had briefly succumbed to an episode of hysteria, during which her mother kept texting her to “clam down.” Clam down, she demanded in that sober, no-nonsense way. At first, the clam looked all around her, like, Who, me? Until she realized that her mother was addressing her.
It made sense. Since the clam’s separation from her partner, she had been consuming a lot of calcium carbonate. This is what clams and other shell-building animals use to make their shells. She kept rolls of them in her bag, and they got whittled down throughout the day with alarming speed. On her desk, beside her usual writing implements—pen, notepad—was a flip-top container that was more fun to feed off of; it rattled percussively when she shook the tabs out into her palm. These tabs were tropically flavored, in delicate pastel colors. Humans were not supposed to ingest more than ten per day, but clams could eat them as needed. Both species possessed a stomach, and hers hurt most of the time. Read More