A surprising group of natural history specimens has wended its way into our historical collections that has maritime, or at least oceanic origins. The difference, to me, is that maritime assumes some sort of involvement with humans; oceanic ignores humans entirely, or dies trying.
The quaint scratching of a bored sailor on a scrimshawed whale’s tooth seems a tawdry, frivolous end to a creature supremely at home in its universe. In all the myopic fussing over our tally of achievements, we have forgotten the eons of time when the self-regulating natural world coursed along before us, and will do so long after us.
Here is a collections sampler of organic structures spawned in the ocean, untouched by human hand. At least, not until their natural beauty, novelty, or commercial value brought them to a highly unnatural end. Ironically, it is the specimen’s death that allows us to appreciate the survivors.
Can you guess what you are looking at? (Click each image for answers.)