Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Snail trail reveals ancient human migration

Date:
June 20, 2013
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
Geneticists have used snails to uncover evidence of an ancient human migration from the Pyrenean region of France to Ireland.

Genetic markers in banded wood snails in Ireland and France reveal ancient human migrations.
Credit: Lauren Holden

Geneticists from The University of Nottingham have used snails to uncover evidence of an ancient human migration from the Pyrenean region of France to Ireland.

Related Articles


Dr Angus Davison, Reader in Evolutionary Genetics at the University, and PhD student Adele Grindon, found that snails in Ireland and the Pyrenees are genetically almost identical, despite being thousands of miles apart. And -- as snails aren't renowned for their speed -- the simplest explanation is that snails hitched a ride with human migrants approximately 8,000 years ago.

The research is published in journal PLOS ONE on 19 June.

From France to Ireland

Dr Davison said: "There is a very clear pattern, which is difficult to explain except by involving humans. If the snails naturally colonised Ireland, you would expect to find some of the same genetic type in other areas of Europe, especially Britain. We just don't find them.

"There are records of Mesolithic or Stone Age humans eating snails in the Pyrenees, and perhaps even farming them. The highways of the past were rivers and the ocean -- as the river that flanks the Pyrenees was an ancient trade route to the Atlantic, what we're actually seeing might be the long lasting legacy of snails that hitched a ride, accidentally or perhaps as food, as humans travelled from the South of France to Ireland 8,000 years ago.

"The results tie in with what we know from human genetics about the human colonisation of Ireland -- the people may have come from somewhere in southern Europe."

The flora and fauna of Ireland

Despite being close geographically, Ireland is home to many plants and animals which aren't found in Britain.

Dr Davison said: "You would think that anything that gets to Ireland would go through Britain, but it has been a longstanding mystery as to why Ireland is so different from Britain. For these snails, at least, the difference may be that they hitched a ride on a passing boat."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nottingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Adele J. Grindon, Angus Davison. Irish Cepaea nemoralis Land Snails Have a Cryptic Franco-Iberian Origin That Is Most Easily Explained by the Movements of Mesolithic Humans. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (6): e65792 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065792

Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Snail trail reveals ancient human migration." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130620084633.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2013, June 20). Snail trail reveals ancient human migration. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130620084633.htm
University of Nottingham. "Snail trail reveals ancient human migration." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130620084633.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) Hundreds of archeological jewels in and around the town of 30,000 people prompt geologists and archeologists to call the Erfoud area "the largest open air fossil museum in the world". Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) A 45,000-year-old thighbone is showing when humans and neanderthals may have first interbred and revealing details about our origins. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Snail Genetic Tracks Reveal Ancient Human Migration: Mesolithic Humans May Have Carried Snail Species from France to Ireland

June 19, 2013 Some snails in Ireland and the Pyrenees are genetically almost identical, perhaps because they were carried across the Atlantic during an 8000-year-old human migration. The snail genetics tie in with ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins