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The dangers of making broad paleobiological inferences from shell morphology, based on limited observations of a few taxa, are indicated using as examples the secondary protoconchs of Colina species (Cerithiidae), and the ratchet sculpture of some surface dwelling species of Cerithium. Secondary protoconchs are not indicative of types of development and ratchet sculpture does not always indicate burrowing. □Protoconch, shell morphology, functional morphology, burrowing, Cerithiidae.