- Published: 08 September 2008
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Thomas Newberry, age 9, of Rochester, New York, for his question:
Who invented the musical scale?
Music grew more beautiful as the human race grew older. It started with beating drums, but even our caveman ancestors began adding a few shouts to the tom toms. Later, people made other musical instruments and invented series of notes that sounded pleasant. About 2,000 years ago a Greek scholar named Pythagoras figured that there are even spaces between the high notes and the low notes. He was sure that the sound of music is a science. We now know that each note has its own number of sound vibrations a number of tiny pulses per second, and we can agree with Pythagoras that musical sound can be studied scientifically.
In those far off days, the Greeks used several kinds of musical scales. They were called modes. You can play a Greek mode by using, only the white notes on the piano. About 1,000 years agolions of years. Andy is glad to report that the whole family is still doing fine, and we expect them to thrive through countless ages into the future. There are actually two quite different types of nautilus. One type inhabits the deep waters of the vast Pacific. He Is called the chambered nautilus because he builds himself a fancy shell with many separate rooms. He has a smallish, soft blue body plus a head with about 90 waving tentacles. He builds his pearly shell around his unprotected body. His head and fingery tentacles hang out the door to catch and devour passing morsels of food.
As he grows bigger, the deep sea nautilus needs a bigger room. So he builds a new, slightly larger room fixed onto the first one and moves in. As he grows, he adds a series of larger and larger chambers to his shell, always living in the newest one. When fully grown he may be seven inches long and his shell of gracefully curved chambers arranged in larger and larger sizes may be ten inches wide. The outside of the beautiful nautilus shell is as smooth as fine porcelain and banded with brown and white. The glossy inside walls are pearly white. As a rule, we see this shell only after the owner dies and the tides wash his elegant home up onto the beaches.
The nautilus of the Atlantic does not build a permanent home. Both the girls and the boys are octopus type animals with many tentacles. Both stay under the sea most of their lives. But the girls grow much bigger. When Mrs. Nautilus is ready to have her first family she is about eight inches long. Her little husband measures only one inch. Mrs. Nautilus plans to carry her eggs up to the surface for a breezy outing in the sunny air. She holds out two of her many tentacles and builds a papery white shell around them. The eggs inside the shell are held up in the warm air above the water.
The papery white shell is a baby carriage and also a sail. The ocean breezes huff and puff it along on top of the dancing waves. The mother nautilus skims along with her sail, using some of her tentacles as oars and some for steering. When the babies hatch, they sink down into the sea. Mrs. Nautilus then leaves her fragile shell on the surface and goes doxm to live under the sea until the next baby season.
The paper nautilus is often seen skimming over the waves of the Mediterranean Sea. Ages ago, the people of ancient Greece watched the breezy little white sail and named it after their most famous sailors. The hero Jason sailed in the splendid ship Argos to find the golden fleece. His sailors of the Argos were called argonauts and ages ago the papery sailed nautilus was named the argonaut.