The Nautilus pompilius is not only a fascinating decoratorís shell but a
mathematical miracle of nature. If you cut the shell in half, as the one
pictured here, you can see this mystery very clearly.
Nautilus pompilius Cut in Half
As the animal in the shell grows it builds another room slightly larger than the
one it presently resides in, preparing for the day it will move into the new
addition to its house. The animal paints each room the same pearly white color .
Once it completes its new room it moves its body into it and seals the empty
room, with one exception. It leaves a small round opening through which it
connects its body with a tube that it uses to connect itself to the empty
chamber. It is through this tube that the animal can adjust air inside the empty
chambers to move up and down within the ocean. This, along with its siphon tube
through which it blows water out like a jet plane, accounts for its mobility. If
you look very close at the spirals in the cut-away you will notice that each of
the spirals forming the chambers increases in size but is unchanged with each
curve. This is what makes it a mathematical miracle of nature, or why is called
a perfect equiangular or logarithmic spiral.
When we observe how our modern day submarine navigates throughout the ocean we
are reminded of how the Chamber Nautilus travels.
If you do not have a Chambered Nautilus in your collection, try to acquire one
as soon as possible. They are becoming harder and harder to obtain and the cost
is constantly increasing.