Gastropods, more commonly known as snails, have thrived in the sea for more than 500 million years. Several hundred million years ago they also moved into fresh water of lakes and rivers, and even onto land. They are still very common today, as any gardener will tell you. Most gastropods are herbivorous but some became adapted to prey on other animals, even evolving poison darts and sophisticated ways of drilling through the shells of hapless bivalves.

In Northern Ireland gastropods are not uncommon fossils in Carboniferous, Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks, but they are also common in Ordovician rocks in the Pomeroy area of Co. Tyrone. However, in these older rocks the superficially similar brachiopods generally are more common.

Ordovician gastropods

Carboniferous gastropods

Jurassic gastropods

Cretaceous gastropods

More gastropods will be added to this page in the near future.

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