They were easy to miss, but among soil samples found under limestone rocks in China, several tiny snail shells have been unearthed.  

There were no snails inside them. But the size of the shells indicates the animals would have been less than 1mm long, one coming in at a diminutive 0.86mm.

The shells are so small, one can fit nicely inside the eye of a needle.

Named after the wife of one of the researchers who discovered it, Angustopila dominikae could be the world's smallest species of land snail. 

In addition to A. dominikae, six other land snail species were described. The findings have been published in the journal ZooKeys.

So far there is little known about how the species relate to each other.

The authors say that the tiny snails could help us understand how and why some animals evolve to be so small.