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9 July 2013
Snail trail reveals ancient human migration

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.
     Doctor 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. The simplest explanation is that snails hitched a ride with human migrants approximately 8,000 years ago.
     Dr Davison said: "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." Despite being close geographically, Ireland is home to many plants and animals which aren't found in Britain. "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," Dr Davison concluded.

Edited from Popular Archaeology (19 June 2013), ScienceDaily (20 June 2013)

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