My name is Cristina Chalana. I’m 51 years old and I am from Barreiro. I'm currently unemployed and I’m living in the Algarve for about 30 years.
Since I was a little girl that I love to eat escargots. When I caught them, I loved to put them in a “special box” that I had in my backyard. These were some habits that I got from my late father… I didn’t have any brothers, so I spent hours observing and playing with them. Since childhood I could see that they weren’t all alike, there were some differences: for me, there were the boys and the girls.
I grew up eating and catching snails until I was hospitalized when I was 13 years old. Even there, my late father brought me some escargots for me to eat while I was in the hospital. In 1988 I got food poisoning due to some escargots that I ate. That fact made me reject them for many years. But after that, I overcame the trauma and I started to catch and eat them again.
In April 2003 I started living in a country house that I built. When I got there I was really surprised! There were only few snails in the field, something very unusual for the season… Winter came and I finally got my answer: low temperatures, some even below zero and frost.
That explained why there were so few snails in the field. Afterwards, I started making small shelters for the snails with fruit and plastic boxes, hoping that they would multiply, but nothing happen. So, I bought some snails in order to speed up the reproduction. Years went by and I always have got snails. Some years they reproduce more and others less, but every year I have got snails.
After more than ten years observing, feeding and taking care of them I always find fascinating their survival instinct since an early age. This has been a very interesting night hobby for me but my family always disagreed.
Back then I was a secretary but when crisis “erupted”, the company had to fire some workers and I was one of them. It happened in November 2013. It was when I decided to turn my hobby into my future job: a snail farmer!
Very excited, I looked for new land. Initially it was very hard to find one because it was too expensive. But after a while I finally found what I was looking for.
So, I invested in training in order to be able to produce in a Helix Aspersa greenhouse. As unemployed I also took a farming course by IEFP (Portuguese Employment and Training Center) in order to have the training and license for phytopharmaceuticals. I applied for a 2500m2 greenhouse project at the CML (Loulé City Council). It was approved in October 2014.
With full availability, commitment, interest and passion I found out all the answers that I was looking for. A discovery that will change history. As time went by, I started to be more receptive and therefore started gaining interest in life again.
Meanwhile in November 2015, after a big storm that destroyed most of Albufeira downtown, I suddenly remembered the snails. So I found them completely abandoned in the field. It was when I realized that I could produce liters instead of tons.
But for personal reasons it was not possible to conclude (january 2017)
It was a race against the clock. In November and December I started working 10 to 14 hours a day in order to clean the land and find materials to build shelters before the heavy rain.
When winter came I had already finished everything, only needed to put then in shelters.
With everything more or less organized, I still had to understand why they were different. I became obsessed but I still couldn’t find any answers. After many hours working on my knees, I even had to go to the doctor because I could barely walk.
And finally it was on 21st January 2016, after observing a photo in detail, and normally I don’t observe them, that I finally got it! Wow… Could it be? How crazy… Oh my God, It is really true!
We thought that we knew everything about snails, but we didn’t, we were wrong and there are so many other things to discover.
Although this study has more than 6 months of observation and record of more than 10 thousands photos, it still hasn’t completed a full year in the life of a snail. However I have decided to reveal the unthinkable. But unfortunately, for personal reasons, I might don’t have the possibility to finish this case study in a year. I also discovered other things and all of these discoveries made me feel very skeptical.
I was like “see it to believe it”.
We thought that we knew everything about the snail but I assure you that that isn’t true. We were wrong! Beyond this discovery, there are many other discoveries
We all know that it is very hard to observe animals in their natural habitat on a daily basis. For that reason, and in order to verify what I saw outside, I made from my bathroom, during 6 months, and observation lab, in order to observe and confirm this extraordinary discovery.
During this period and although the outside conditions were very different from the indoor conditions, actually not sufficient and adverse to their specific needs, I believe that these conditions didn’t influence the discovery. It simply slow it down. Therefore What I initially didn’t what to accept, was right in front of my eyes: something unthinkable that justifies this disclosure. Therefore, due to these factors I baptize this snail with the name Algarve Snail.
I know that many of you don’t believe, others may say extraordinary and even others may say that I’m crazy but I reveal and prove...
...that these snails ARE NOT OVIPAROUS.
This discovery is rejuvenating for Malacology!
- Cristina Chalana - October 13th 2017
I’m stating here today that I’ve looked, waited, avoid and restrained (maybe too much), but the objection, indifference or rejection of all around me over a year ago gave me the support to this revelation as we celebrate the first birthday of our website, with contours similar to ones in the early past.
I try/look to take benefit of Internet and social networks in modern society for this national discovery. I’m quite aware that discoveries have no homeland, but this one will remain as a milestone of portuguese history! Am I insane? We’ll see…
The truth is that there are snails with another form of reproduction (new for the science) that perhaps justifies why all refute this possibility. I also want to explain why I’ve decided to expose myself and tell you so much about my personal life.
I think it was important to reveal the source of my knowledge, for whom that observes snails over ten years, had managed to make a discovery such as this, which knocks dogmatisms.
Given the need to validate this discovery I did not continue with this revelation.
As soon as there are new developments, I will share with you. Thank you for your attention
Ana Cristina Chalana
These snails ARE NOT OVIPAROUS!
It´s incredible! And they still will surprise...
- Cristina Chalana - October 13th 2016
I would like to explain what has happened in the last three months.
I have been trying to validate this discovery!
I’ve looked for help at various universities and in the Portuguese Institute of Malacology as well, but so far, they have not revealed interest in this discovery (as I have no training in biology, nobody appreciates). Therefore, I am currently trying to find a study group, so that together we can enrich the animal kingdom. I know it is difficult to accept… nobody ever wondered… It is technically proved… that is why this discovery will revolutionize the world of malacology.
I always pictured the unselfish fascination and dedication towards the study of terrestrial molluscs, leading me to this discovery – this will be my reward for all the hard work and effort. It’s a discovery that knocks out dogmas.
Let’s go back in time for a better framing: that’s how all started, in March 2016, when I read the news over the smallest snails in the world!!
I’ve made some contacts imediatly, because initially I JUST wanted to share knowledge, and latter with my research photos it becamed clear for me that I wanted for this snails record of minutiae to be portuguese. But not even the “giants” of the true circle in science or media showed any interest for what it’s ours. Ensured of my knowledge, I have insisted, but in vain.
There is dominat accuracy from the source to spread cientifical news, but if my photos confirm that the snails are 0,01 milimeters long, and not “elephants”, then you can deduce as well as you please…
How do scientists know if these are in fact the smallest snails in the world, if it’s a new species?
What is the solid ground that validates this statment for science people and the media? Knowing the stringency for scientists and media over cientifical news, I’m quite intrigued!
Do we born adults or midgets?
I recognize that, initially, I was a bit naif, and perhaps too humble to think that the so called “giants” of this particular branch in science would be interested – to ear my statements, trying to understand or apreciate my attitude. And I said to my self, why not? In fact, the intention was to strengthen universal science, so there was no option but to go forward with it!
If news confirmed it, facing my certainty e and other people’s disinterest, I thought to myself: I’ll look for scientific validation!
Nowadays, I understand in a new manner nearly anyone else’s attitude, in other words, the existence of some inconvenients brought from the scientific world that I wasn´t aware of, but I still refuse to accept that it could become an obstacle for science’s evolution.
In Portugal, I’ve been looking for study groups over the matter. Throughout that group search, there has been shared information between me and others, but I was ignored by everyone! Can this informations be investigated? Perhaps, but I suggest not to waste any time or money to research what is already discovered, due to the advantage of information driven by the ambition for individual prestige at the eyes of the science community.
If you rejected what I’ve offered of free will, the loss goes for national science!
In Portugal, from several contacts made, there are three that I highlight:
For starters, the Portuguese Institute for Malacology, that promised support for this work as well as a postage of it in a science magazine, which I can confirm with an e-mail that I have received on October 10th in 2016.
There have been previous contacts, but on year later, they didn’t uphold to their promise! I believe that this has nothing to do with the institute’s chairman, although other e-mails sent to this instituion were also kept unanswered. Maybe inside aid is there, but no will – in this case, what can the chairman do? I’ll leave this question for who it may concern…
I’ve also reached our Ministry of Science, Dr. Manuel Heitor, in the latest 4th of July 2017, in a science summit called “Encontro da Ciência 2017”, to question him personally for my aid request, following the e-mails sent previously. In this rendez-vous, the minister promised to develop some contacts, that yelded nothing.
I wonder if the help from these public entities will come at the speed of a snail? Currently, I don’t understand them - perhaps in the near future!
It is obvious in everbody faces how much their way of thinking ridicules my statements. But if I claim that I find it all amusing, would anyone believe it? I give discredit for those kind of attitudes, that block the way for science, just because I’m a “midget” in the mean. I believe that the fact for this dicovery to happened on the opposite side of the scientific community has it benefit. It avoids opinion clashes over what is written, and hence, should be refined.
Last but not least, commited as I am to award malacology, I took the decision to adress towards Palácio de Belém in latest 21st september 2017 and try to speak with his excellency, the Presidente of the Portuguese Republic and by doing it so, reinforce my quest for aid, that I’ve already requested through e-mail, and I’ve achieved it! While I was with him, I’ve realized something I’d like to enhance from this memorable meeting: the authenticity of his personality. What we see in television is genuine, you can feel it. I’ve loved it!
For the moment, I’m waiting for his answer; however, if he gives me no reply, I’ve decided that this will become a personal struggle heading for scientific validation.
But how can a woman, alone, “invisible” in the world of science, with no special training or education in Biology, with no connections with teaching or research institutes can prove in the world of “giants” on written paper such a big discovery? Because we’re talking about a “two in one” solution for malacology. It’s a true tsunami!
How can you explain the unknown, the inovation, what everybody knows, but no has never seen?
I recognize this is a path filled with barriers, but I’m determined to take it. My non-stop dedication, free of compulsory or need for compensation in this process to acquire the truth assures me the required resistence. The impact of this discovery in science presents itself overwhelming - I wonder if they fear the fall of a myth. Due to its complexity, this presentation will be presented in my native language, portuguese.
And specially for those that ridiculed me and became hostile, with out loud spoken comments such as “what you’re telling us is impossible” and “you must be out of your mind”, I only ask one thing: How come nobody weighted superior knowlegde to their one, if science lives in a self correcting path by new discoveries? I wonder how is this possible?!
How is it possible to study snails, if analysis that consists in close permanente observation has become invisible in the true world of science for decades worldwide? Impossible, I say, maybe due to the effect/consequence of your scientific world demands!!
Possibly because the need for prestige, recognition for individual science, overvaluation for indisputable truths, mimetic mistakes or insuficiente observation will justify this void. In that case, you contradict yourselves! Let’s see: how is it possible that some species become pests, knowing that are still doubts in this field of practise? How is it possible to eat tons of snails produced in nature? In fact, I wonder what makes this all true. Would it be needed tons of eggs in every offspring?
At this point, I also wonder: me against everyone? Is it really like this? If I have to, because I’m sure of my statements and I want to understand how was it possible the existence of this knowledge void so far.
Something this fascinating, real and worthy to be learned should not remain invisible and nonexistent in Biology. I want to believe that there is a more positive attitude in malacology beyond borders!
It is unthinkable in presente time to realize that at this moment, I’m waiting with huge expectations for the answer (the only one) of our beloved president of the republic to decide which path to take, opposite to the experts in this area that gave me none!
Finally, and for those who showned availability and gave credits for my beliefs, my sincere aknowledgement, because due to their wise words, I was taught and grew for miles! As for those who I’ve reached and discarded me, I emphasize that personally, I took my lessons and “learned” with them, nothing else.
Knowledge is not what you know,
But what you do with what you know
-- Albert Einsten --
Cristina Chalana - February 22th 2018
Two years have gone and it is considerably too much time!
I am disappointed not only because my home country, Portugal, ignored my intentions and requests, but also because there is no one available to support my project and “finding” or even showed interest to collaborate with me, in such a discovery that, in my humble opinion, is going to be historical.
Nevertheless, I am grateful to Mr President from the Portuguese Institute of Malacology, who tried to help me by contacting the involved institutions, but all of them never accepted to help my.
I was told from the Portuguese President Office that it was impossible to satisfy my request.
Moreover, I got the same answer from the Ministry Office of Science, saying they can´t command in someone’s else houses, referring to other Institutions.
I respect, and I have to accepted, but understand…
Wasn´t I an invisible dwarf in a Giants world?!
But then again, I will never give up!
I’m determined to enrich the Biology of land snail whit this DESCOVERY of semi precious value for the evolution of the science!
However, although aware of the difficulties, is with conviction, lucid, and clear mind that I’m going to give a scientific presentation this yerar 2018.
Unfortunately for personal reasons it was not possible to do this scientific presentations perhaps 2020?!
January 15, 2020
Send a message if you want to contact, I will be happy to clarify any questions.
If you remain the need to see to believe...
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