Viral Video Showing How Baby Seashells Are 'Born' Is Blowing People's Minds

A viral video claiming to show how baby seashells are "born" is blowing people's minds, as they admitted they had no idea how the intricate objects were created.

Beachgoer Abby Spelman shared a clip to her TikTok account, @abb.y.oga, as she walked along the shore in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Spelman captioned the clip, which has been viewed more than 15 million times and can be seen here: "How baby sea shells are born."

She films the sand, saying: "You might be wondering why this girl is manhandling seaweed on a New England beach in 30 degrees. Well I don't have a very good explanation other than I was taking a walk and realized not many people know how seashells are born, and I just had to share.

"So inside each one of these little pouches is a whole cluster of baby seashells just like these, super tiny, ready to hatch."

Spelman told Newsweek: "I was out for a walk and to do my little ocean meditation and look at the waves the day I found the shell babies. The beach was totally empty so I spent more time there than usual.

"I was playing with some little hermit crabs too when I found the shell sac. I'm not sure if I'd say I was excited to find it since they are so common here but it was nice to be present in nature and just explore everything to be found at the beach.

"After making the video, I left the egg sac and little mollusks by a tide pool of periwinkles and hermit crabs. These little guys were still growing and using the shells and live snails are not something I would want to take home.

Woman reveals how seashells are "born."
Woman reveals how seashells are "born." Spelman picked up what's believed to be an egg sac from a whelk. @abb.y.oga

"When I was little, I totally would take home any treasures and critters I found but it always smelled like low tide so I would have to leave the bucket outside. Some animal would inevitably snatch up my new pet and I'd cry so taking live things home from the beach ended back in elementary school."

The video, shared in January, was met with shock online, as numerous people admitted they weren't aware how shells were created.

Nay wrote: "This is definitely a prank."

Camilla asked: "Wait. They're born? They're alive? I thought they were like rocks formed by the repeating current or something. And that animals moved into them."

Loogy nada admitted: "I thought shells just spawn there and sea animals just live in them."

Kloee Tomkinson said: "I'm confused to if this is real or not."

While Julie Minner Viegas commented: "I thought they would just.... Spawn."

However, what Spelman is holding isn't thought to be seaweed, rather an egg sac from a a sea snail. The tiny creature inside the shell creates it, and it grows larger over time along with the whelk, a type of edible sea snail, as it continually adds to its exoskeleton.

Spelman later told Newsweek: "I am very much aware of how shells are inanimate, believe me.

"Even if you don't know about baby shells or where they come from, I bet if you spent some time in nature, you'd start to notice how intricate the world is."

Simon Taylor, a marine recorder from The Conchological Society of GB & Ireland, explained to Newsweek he believed the species in the clip is Busycon carica, commonly referred to as the knobbed whelk.

Taylor told Newsweek: "What is shown in the short video is an egg mass which has evidently been washed up on a beach. It looks like those produced by large whelks in the seas around the eastern seaboard of the United States.

"Marine snails breed in a variety of ways: some spawn (simply releasing sperm and eggs simultaneously into the water), some lay eggs and some even give birth to live young. Among the egg layers some hatch to release planktonic larvae whereas in others, such as those in the video, tiny versions of the adult emerge.

"These will feed and grow, the shell growing along with the animal until they reach adult size; in these whelks that can be well over six inches. As the animal grows it secretes new shell material, from an organ known as the mantle, at the edge of the shell aperture, forming the characteristic spiral exoskeleton."

Both the knobbed and channeled whelk are commonly found in Massachusetts' water, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' website,, explained.

"Whelks are considered to be species of shellfish and are managed by the Division of Marine Fisheries and the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission," the website said.

Woman reveals how seashells are "born."
Woman reveals how seashells are "born." A beachgoer shared a clip to TikTok which has been seen more than 15 million times. @abb.y.oga

Update 3/01/22, 3:58 a.m. ET: This article was updated with photos from Spelman.

Update 3/04/22, 11:20 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from Spelman.

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