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DEFINITION: A gastropod, especially one having an enclosing shell, into which it may retract completely for protection. Land snail shells are frequently preserved in buried soils, the fills of ditches, and other deposits over limestone subsoils and sometimes fill a gap in environmental reconstruction. Other species are: shade-loving snails, open-country snails, and intermediate or catholic species that live in a variety of habitats - including many of the more common species of snail. Using these categories of snail ecology, the relative frequencies of shell fragments from different species, extracted from deposits and soils, can be used to reconstruct ancient environments.

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