Significance to humans

Scaphopods were important to Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. Their use as a form of currency extended well into central Canada and south to California, despite only a few source sites on the west coast of Vancouver Island, where collection was difficult. Accounts of early European travelers indicate that the value of blankets could be measured in scapho-

pod shells. Naturally the shells were worn as displays of wealth, as can be seen in photographs by Edward Curtis as well as in the displays at such museums as the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, and the Field Museum in Chicago. As of 2003, scaphopod shells are frequently sold in shell shops and often made into jewelry.

1. Tusk shell (Antalis entalis); 2. Aberrant tooth shell (Gadila aberrans). (Illustration by Dan Erickson)

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