Snails trace Stone Age trek from Iberia to Ireland

Genetic quirk linking snails in two distant areas suggests people brought escargot on migration to Emerald Isle

By Tina Hesman Saey, 15:14 PM June 19, 2013

Stone Age people may have carried land snails on a voyage from the Pyrenees to Ireland, an examination of the snails’ DNA reveals.

Scientists have struggled to explain why Ireland shares some plant and animal species with the Iberian Peninsula, but not with the rest of Europe or the British Isles. For example, Cepaea nemoralis land snails on Ireland’s western coast and in the southern Pyrenees share unique white-lipped shells. 

To find out if the two populations of white-lipped snails are relat...

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