Greetings From the Land of the Make-Believe Species

Postcards provided proof of lake serpents, jackalopes and assorted curious monsters

(Nebraska State Historical Society)
Smithsonian Magazine | Subscribe

The Geoduck, Puget Sound

(Courtesy of Steve Shook)
Geoduck clams can live to be 163 years old—really. The bivalve's elephant trunk of a siphon extends three feet from its buried shell to the muddy ocean floor. The clams can weigh up to 16 pounds. When an unknown photographer dug up this memorable specimen, a clam so large and unwieldy it had be wheeled out of the Puget Sound, the image left a lasting impression. So much so that, in 1981, the journal Science republished the photograph. Judging by the mismatched shadows on the clam and the kid, though, the photo may better reflect our outsized perception of one of the West Coast’s wildest clams rather than a one-of-a-kind find.

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus