Aug 11, 2013 00:07 Pat Shingleton for Tuesday, June 18, 2013 Pat Shingleton for Tuesday, June 18, 2013 Advocate story Aug. 11, 2013 Comments Paleoecology is the scientific study of fossils in reconstructing ecosystems and building a model of life environment of previously living organisms. Researchers believe land snails provide evidence of climatic conditions thousands of years ago. An old wives’ tale says if a snail climbs a plant, rain is on the way and a new study from the University of York found 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 the western Mediterranean was not hot and dry but a wet, humid environment. Fastcast: Stuffy.