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September 12, 2010

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Beautiful. How large is shell?

The shell is a couple of millimeters, the forams less than a millimeter - amazing, huh?

Yes. Amazing. Knowing nearly nothing of such things, I find myself assuming that shell is that of a scallop. Correct? Is it that of a young one or of a small variety (species?).

Knowing nearly nothing of such things myself, it certainly would seem to be a bivalve, but whether it's a scallop (pecten)I'm not sure - the hinge shape (important, I believe, in such classification) doesn't look quite right. I suspect that it's a diminutive species, but, again, I'm not sure.

Both forams and Haeckel's illustrations thereof are fascinating. And your bottom image is absolutely lovely.

As to the top image - those shells are forams? I've never seen images of forams along with any other objects, and since I have no reference for grain size in the image, the forams(?) seem rather large to me.

Would it be safe to assume that foram shells found in beach sand would be of the planktonic variety, as opposed to benthic? I suppose fossil benthic type shells could wash down from eroding uplifted oceanic crust, though.

Since we are still ahead of the holiday season, these may be provide some holiday amusement: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28196673@N08/sets/72157611177529561/

Hi Sean - thanks for the comment. Re the size of the forams: the sand is generally fine-grained (with some larger chunks of shell fragments) - the forams are around a millimeter or slightly less in size, not visible to the naked eye. The amazing diversity of foraminifera also means that they occur in a wide range of sizes - the majority less than a millimeter, but the fossil nummulites can be several centimeters in diameter. There's a great foram site at:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/GeolSci/micropal/foram.html

As for planktonic versus benthic, I'd have to agree with you and go for the former - but I fear that I am no expert! I don't believe that the local geology offers much of a source for fossil forams.

And thanks for the Haeckel Christmas link!

I had previously missed your comment and the link here, Michael. Thank you.

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