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Champagne vineyards reveal shells aged over 45 million years

Thousands of well-preserved shells give a clue to paleontologists about the evolution of marine life

Patrice Legrand, a champagne producer and owner of the "Cave aux Coquillages" or Shell Cave, in the Montagne de Reims regional park in northeastern France, says the stash of these ancient shells is "inexhaustible".

Fleury-la-Riviere, France

IN CAVES deep underground in France's Champagne region lie thousands of shells believed to be more than 45 million years old, a site researchers describe as "rare and exceptional" - and which may have influenced the flavour of the local bubbly.

"It's my