Breaking from chores, we went to the beach a few days ago to breath the clean, moist sea air.  As we walked a short distance ahead, I was attracted by color –  a dark yellow and brick red and somewhat circular form on the sand.  I approached, witnessed movement and gathered the creature into my hands.

The creature closed into a more rounded shape.  You can see that the outside edges of this creature are ruffled.  It was heavy, dense and about the size of my two fists, combined.2014-01-18 10.20.51

I know, it appears to be smiling…

I wanted to look inside again, but the creature was uncooperative, and this was as far as I could open it using my own strength. Once I let go with my right hand, the creature slowly closed up again.  No hurry.

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It’s one mass of muscle!

When our dog wasn’t looking, my husband threw it back into the ocean.

Here we have a Giant Gumboot Chiton, or, Great Pacific Chiton.  I didn’t see any of the typical plates on it’s back, but then, I may not have noticed.

What’s most fascinating is that this creature hasn’t changed for 50 million years!  A chance happening with a prehistoric creature – thrilling!