What is a foraminifera fossil?

Foraminifera (forams for short) are single-celled organisms (protists) with shells or tests (a technical term for internal shells). They are abundant as fossils for the last 540 million years.

Is foraminifera an index fossil?

An important constituent of the present-day planktonic (floating) and benthic (bottom dwelling) microfaunas, foraminiferans have an extensive fossil record that makes them useful as index fossils in geological dating and in petroleum exploration.

Are forams common in the fossil record?

Foram shells, known as “tests,” are often composed of calcium carbonate, which means that unlike many other microscopic organisms, they are well represented in the fossil record.

When did foraminifera fossils appear?

Foraminifera were first discovered about 2000 years ago! The pyramids in Gizeh, Egypt, are in part built out of a Palaeogene limestone which contains huge numbers of Nummulites gizehensis, a large foraminifera that grew to several centimetres across.

Where did foraminifera come from?

Foraminifera, or forams for short, are single-celled organisms that live in the open ocean, along the coasts and in estuaries. Most have shells for protection and either float in the water column (planktonic) or live on the sea floor (benthic).

What is the significance of foraminifera?

Foraminifera is both the clock and the recorder of the Earth’s history. It has played a crucial role in developing our understanding of the evolution of life and the environment on Earth. The earliest fossil record of foraminifera is from the Cambrian Period (about 550 million years ago).

What genus does foraminifera belong to?

The earliest known reference to foraminifera comes from Herodotus, who in the 5th century BCE noted them as making up the rock that forms the Great Pyramid of Giza. These are today recognized as representatives of the genus Nummulites.

How do you classify foraminifera?

The generally accepted classification of the foraminifera is based on that of Loeblich and Tappan (1964). The Order Foraminiferida (informally foraminifera) belongs to the Kingdom Protista, Subkingdom Protozoa, Phylum Sarcomastigophora, Subphylum Sarcodina, Superclass Rhizopoda, Class Granuloreticulosea.

How do scientists use foraminifera?

Foraminifera shells are often divided into chambers and can be quite elaborate, although simple open tube or hollow sphere forms exist. Because of the abundance and variety of foraminifera, their fossils are extremely important for dating rocks. They also provide a record of the environment where they’re found.

What are fossilised Foraminifera?

Some stone types, such as limestone, are commonly found to contain fossilised foraminifera. The types and concentrations of these fossils within a sample of stone can be used to match that sample to a source known to contain the same “fossil signature”.

Is there an independent molecular origin for triserial planktonic foraminifera?

“Molecular evidence for an independent origin of modern triserial planktonic foraminifera from benthic ancestors”. Marine Micropaleontology. 69 (3–4): 334–340. doi: 10.1016/j.marmicro.2008.09.003.

Are foraminifera kleptoplastic?

Some forams are kleptoplastic, retaining chloroplasts from ingested algae to conduct photosynthesis. Most foraminifera are heterotrophic, consuming smaller organisms and organic matter; some smaller species are specialised feeders on phytodetritus, while others specialise in consuming diatoms.

What is the best book to study foraminifera?

Foraminifera: notes for a short course organized by M.A. Buzas and B.K. Sen Gupta. Studies in Geology. 6. University of Tennessee, Dept. of Geological Sciences. pp. 37–50. ISBN 978-0910249058. OCLC 9276403. ^ a b c Hemleben, C.; Anderson, O.R.; Spindler, M. (1989). Modern Planktonic Foraminifera. Springer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-540-96815-3.