Carbon dating live snail

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When atmospheric CO levels soared in Earth’s distant past, life sometimes experienced mass extinctions that wiped out most species and shrunk many of the surviving ones.Many marine shellfish, corals and fish that made it through the turmoil reduced in size by one-third or more, and remained small for tens of thousands of years, says Richard Twitchett at the Natural History Museum in London.

A Monrovia doctorfish was discovered in European Atlantic waters – just off the coast of Portugal – for the first time in 2013.

Three of the Carbon isotopes (C) are found in nature.

The rest of the carbon isotopes are only of laboratory interest.

This response has been dubbed the “Lilliput effect” – a reference to the fictional island inhabited by tiny people in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.

Now it seems that the Lilliput effect is poised to return, as a direct result of present-day ocean acidification.

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