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What is this thing I found on the beach?

My son is REALLY into dinosaurs and found the below at the beach and would LOVE help with an ID. Any advice?

Jack Ucciferri, Carpinteria - May 27, 2020

Curator Response

Hi Jack,

This looks like the so-called chimney of a so-called boring clam. We don’t think they are boring at all. The way they create holes in rocks is fascinating. They are the ones responsible for the many holey rocks that appear on local beaches. It looks like what you have is an example where the clam’s shell remained embedded in the rock where it made its home. Check out an earlier question about them for more details: https://sbnature.org/collections-research/questions/48

The diagram on the third page of this article in The Veliger shows you some other examples of chimneys, as well as more images of boring clams: https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/43054192#page/342/mode/1up

Stay curious,

Curator Emeritus of Malacology Paul Valentich-Scott