Human activity has caused shellfish size to increase: Study

Washington, Sept 1 (ANI): A species of shellfish widely consumed in the Pacific over the past 3,000 years has increased in size despite, and possibly because of human activity in the area, says a new research.

"The trends we see in the archaeological record in regard to animal remains are not always what one would expect," said Dr. Scott Fitzpatrick of North Carolina State University.

The researchers dated and measured more than 1,400 humped conch shells found at an archaeological site on the island of Palau in the western Pacific.

And despite their expectations that the size of the conchs would decrease with an expanding human population (since they would be harvested before they achieve their maximum size), they found that the size had in fact, been increasing over the years - by approximately 1.5 mm over the past 3,000 years.

Fitzpatrick believes it could be because of increased nutrients in the conch's waters, stemming from increased agriculture and other human activities.

"In the big picture, this study tells us to focus on the physical evidence and beware of conventional wisdom," he concluded.

The study will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science. (ANI)

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