DEC 11, 2016 09:39 AM PST

Shellfish Used for Purple Dye in Ancient Times Seems to Have Disappeared

In the times of Ancient Rome, if you wore Tyrian Purple clothing of any sort, then you were considered a VIP. The color was most notably used in clothing for royalty, or in some cases wealth.
 

An example of Tyrian Purple as worn by royalty in Ancient Roman times.

 
Unlike other dye colors back in the day, this shade of purple came from boiling a certain kind of shellfish that could be found in the nearby Mediterranean Sea, but scientists are now saying these creatures have essentially disappeared from their natural habitat there.
 
Published in Scientific Reports, scientists involved in an Israeli survey believe that continued warming of the planet’s waters is affecting the wildlife that are trying to cope in the Mediterranean Sea. Among those, the stramonita haemastoma, reportedly one of the two main sources of Tyrian Purple dye.
 

Certain shellfish would be boiled in a vat to produce this royal purple color.

 
The study revealed a nearly 1.6º Fahrenheit change in the water’s temperature from the 1700’s to today, which doesn’t sound like much, but appears to have been just enough to affect the survival of several creatures in the watery region.
 
It turns out these species were very vulnerable to temperature changes in the water, and this survey seems to confirm they’ve pretty much vanished.
 
Shellfish aren’t the only species affected; there are many types of marine life that rely on certain temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea to survive, and a lot of those appear to be disappearing.
 
“Temperature trends indicate an exceptional warming of the coastal waters in the past three decades,” Israeli marine biologist Gil Rilov said.
 
“Though speculative at this stage, the fast rise … may have helped push these invertebrates beyond their physiological tolerance limits leading to population collapses and possible extirpations. If so, these collapses may indicate the initiation of a multi-species range contraction at the Mediterranean south-eastern edge that may spread westward with additional warming.”
 
Despite the dwindling numbers of the marine species that seem to be struggling amid temperature changes in the Mediterranean Sea, purple dyes aren’t going anywhere as mankind has found a way to produce it synthetically.
 
On the other hand, finding out what we can do to prevent creature extinctions in the Mediterranean Sea is an important step scientists have yet to figure out.
 
Source: The Guardian

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 20, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 20, 2019
How Wolves Evolved into Dogs
Wolves and dogs share 99.9% of their DNA. Technically still the same species, they can also produce healthy offspring. But having said that, there’s ...
SEP 20, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
SEP 20, 2019
Will Cannabis Go Organic in California?
Organic foods are growing in popularity. Can cannabis farmers get in on the game? In the U.S., the organic market breached the $50 billion mark for the fir...
SEP 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 20, 2019
Some People Get Bitten By Mosquitoes More Than Others, and Here's Why
If you’ve ever felt like you were a mosquito magnet, then there might be some truth to that sentiment. But despite popular belief, mosquitoes do not...
SEP 20, 2019
Cancer
SEP 20, 2019
Treating dogs with human breast cancer drugs
Did you know that dogs get lung cancer? New research published recently in the journal Clinical Cancer Research shows how dogs with cancer are benefiting f...
SEP 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 20, 2019
Berlin Zoo Welcomes Two Newborn Giant Panda Cub Twins
If you have a deep love for animals, then it can sometimes be difficult to contain yourself when a pair of newborn giant panda twins make the headlines. Wi...
SEP 20, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
SEP 20, 2019
How the Kava Plant Creates Medicinal Compounds
Nature has given us some of our best medicines; it's thought that as many as half the drugs we used are derived from natural products....
Loading Comments...