Who ordered the large escargot?

Here's Paul Mayer holding Specimen P4112--a Campanile giganteum, which is one of the largest marine snails to have ever lived. It's 540mm in length and was on display during the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

It was collected near Paris, France and lived about 45 million years ago in a shallow sea that covered parts of Europe. During this time the Paris Basin was a biodiversity hotspot with over 800 mollusk and 190 foraminifera fossil species from the region described.

Today there is only one living species of this once diverse genus, Campanile symbolicum or the Giant Creeper as the Australians commonly refer to it. It lives along the Southwest coast of Australia where it grazes algae along sandy sea floors. It has an average length of 100 mm or about the size of the small specimen in the aperture.

This specimen is normally not on public display but you can see it during Members’ Night April 18th and 19th.  Become a Member to get access to this event and to see this snail and the rest of our expansive collection.

© The Field Museum, photo by Ian Glasspool