"At a Snail's Pace..."
Palaeoecology is the scientific study of fossils in reconstructing ecosystems and to build a model of life environment of previously living organisms. Researchers believe that land snails provide evidence of climatic conditions thousands of years ago. An old wives' tale notes that if a snail climbs a plant, rain is on the way and a new study from the University of York found that snail shells may be the key to past weather. Researchers analyzed the chemistry of shells retrieved from Mediterranean caves dating back 2,500 to 9,000 years. Snails collected from sites in Spain and Italy provided a large-scale snapshot of the western Mediterranean. Their findings were published in Quaternary International and revealed that the western Mediterranean was not hot and dry but a wet, humid environment.