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Genes of Snail Reveal Migration Patterns of Humans to Ireland: Research

Researchers explained that the genetic similarity between snail fossils found in Ireland suggested that human beings migrated to Ireland 8000 years ago.

Jun 25, 2013 15:58 IST
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Researchers from the University of Nottingham explained that the genetic similarity between the snail fossils which were found in the Eastern Pyrenees as well as Ireland suggested that human beings migrated from Southern Europe to Ireland 8000 years ago. The fact is that the slippery creatures found in Ireland at present are more or less similar to the snails found in Northern Spain and Southern France.

It is believed that Britain was formed at the end of the last Ice Age around 10000 years ago. At that time, the sea levels increased and the landslides caused tsunami. Britain was then transformed into island which segregated mainland Europe from Ireland. This implied that land-dwelling animals could not migrate from Europe over the seas.

Scientists and researchers, over a long period of time, have remained confused that Ireland is a home to various plants as well as animals which are genetically very different and unique in comparison to the ones found in Britain.

Now, the researchers found that the common garden snail known as Cepaea nemoralis is genetically identical to those which are found in Eastern Pyrenees. Nevertheless, it missed Britain during the course of its journey.

Analysis of the fossil unveiled that there was a continuous record of the snails in Ireland for 8000 years. Co-author of the study Angus Davison from the University of Nottingham explained that there were evidences of Mesolithic or Stone Age humans that ate snails in Pyrenees.

The route in the past was actually ocean and rivers. The river flanking the Pyrenees was the ancient trade route to Atlantic. The study could actually explain the legacy of snails which reflected the ride that was same as humans who traveled from South of France to Ireland 8000 years ago.

The implication of this study is that genetics of the snails can depict about the very old human migration event. Population geneticist Dan Bradley from Trinity College, Dublin explained that this study was evident of repeating theme that certain species in Ireland had the same genetic types like that of southern Europe.

Earlier, the genetic studies conducted on the humans showcased that there were links between the populations of Southern Europe and Ireland. However, there is a need to understand the ancient DNA for understanding migration patterns of humans.

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