Peter Ward, Paleontologist: The Ancient Nautilus

As a paleontologist Peter Ward studied fossil nautiloids for years before he went to New Caledonia to see and trap living nautiloids. He’s interested in the adaptations that allowed this species to survive when all others died out. The tough nautilus shell protects the animal and its shell, designed for buoyancy, keeps pressure even so it can rise from the depths and descend again. Ward paints a picture of what life was like 500 million years ago when the first nautilus left the ocean floor. Ward is thrilled to try to see a nautilus rising from depths to feed on the reef on a night dive.

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