The Scope of Foraminiferal Studies

  • John R. Haynes


A possible title considered for this textbook was The Geological Uses of Foraminifera’. Certainly no other group of fossils is more important to the geologist, and the majority of palaeontologists employed in industry and oil exploration are specialists in Foraminifera. As a perusal of the ‘Index and Bibliography of Micropalaeontology’ will show, over 500 scientific articles are published each year on this group alone. This is a direct reflection of their importance in the economic field. But their fame rests equally on the attraction of their exquisite architecture to the artistic and scientific mind. Indeed, the early microscopists frankly disavowed any utilitarian intent and this attitude was strongly endorsed by Walker and Jacob (1798) in the earliest British study of Foraminifera with scientific (Linnean) nomenclature. This work includes the following quotation:

Let not the minuteness of the objects here delineated call up the surly enquiries of those who have not been accustomed to live with their eyes open to the works of nature: they are not fit judges in this matter. If they will persist in asking ‘Of what use is all this labour? What good can accrue to mankind from this knowledge, in point of food or other use?’ We know of none at all, either present or likely to happen, as to the body, for use or ornament, or to the satisfying any appetite: nevertheless, a much nobler idea will take its rise in our opinion; one which, by displaying so momentously the power of the omniscient Creator, will thwart the infidel in his favourite ideas of escaping the eyes of the almighty, and force him as he descends the scale from the more immense objects to these minutissima, to confess, that the being which has formed these, can fully equal all that the tongue of man has yet declared of the possibility of his power. For what a train of wonders have we here to pursue? What must be the economy of animals so very diminutive, so weak, so exposed from their situation to the force of every rude wave, and who notwithstanding, so often escape unhurt? How do they rear their young? From whence collect their prey?


Planktonic Foraminifera Drill String Rotary Table Drill Pipe Index Fossil 
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Literature Essential for Research

Catalogues and Bibliographies

  1. An Index to the Genera and Species of the Foraminifera (Sherborn, C. D., 1888). Smithson. misc. Colins, 132 (reprint 1955)Google Scholar
  2. An Index to the Genera and Species of the Foraminifera, 1890–1950 (Thalmann, H. E., 1960). George Vanderbilt Fdn, Stanford Univ., Calif.Google Scholar
  3. Bibliography and Index of Micropaléontology (1972—date). Am. Mus. nat. Hist., N.Y.Google Scholar
  4. Each volume consists of 12 monthly issuesGoogle Scholar
  5. Catalogue of Foraminifera (1940 with suppls. to date). Am. Mus. nat. Hist., N.Y.Google Scholar
  6. Includes an index to generic shifts and very extensive bibliographyGoogle Scholar
  7. Catalogue of Index Foraminifera (Larger) (Ellis, B. F. and Messina, A., 1965). Vol. 1. Lepidocyclina and Miogypsina. Vol. 2. Nummulitids and Orbitolines. Vol. 3. Discocyclinids. Am. Mus. nat. Hist., N.Y.Google Scholar
  8. Catalogue of Index Smaller Foraminifera (Ellis, B. F., Messina, A., Charmatz, R. and Ronai, L. E., 1968). Vol. 1. Cretaceous planktonics and paleozoic benthonics. Vol. 2. Tertiary planktonics. Vol. 3. Mesozoic — Tertiary benthonics. Am. Mus. nat. Hist., N.Y.Google Scholar
  9. Manual of Micropaléontological Stratigraphy (McLean, J. D., 1963–72), vols. 1-XGoogle Scholar
  10. The Zoological Record (1864—date), vols. 1–110. Zool. Soc., Lond.Google Scholar
  11. Covers whole field of zoology world wide and lists papers on systematics. Section 2 of vol. 110 covers the latest work on ProtozoaGoogle Scholar

Journals Devoted to Foraminifera

  1. Contributions of the Cushman Laboratory for Foraminiferal Research (Cushman, J. A., Ed., 1925–49), vols. 1–25. Also special pubis. 1–24. Cushman Lab., Sharon, Mass.Google Scholar
  2. Contributions of the Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research (1950–70), vols. 1–21. Also special pubis. 1–19. Cushman Fdn, U.S. Natl Mus., WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  3. Journal of Foraminiferal Research (1971—date), vols. 1–10. Cushman Fdn, U.S. Natl Mus., WashingtonGoogle Scholar

Journals with Considerable Emphasis on Foraminifera

  1. Marine Micropaléontology (1976—date), vols. 1–5. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  2. Micropaléontology (1955 — date), vols. 1–25. Also special pubis. 1 and 2. Am. Mus. nat. Hist., N.Y.Google Scholar
  3. Revista Espanola de Micropaléontologia (1969—date), vols. 1–11. Empr. Nac. Ad. Invest. Min. S.A., MadridGoogle Scholar
  4. Revue de Micropaléontologie (1958 — date), vols. 1–21. Fac. des Sci., ParisGoogle Scholar
  5. The Micropaléontologist (1947–54), vols. 1–8. Am. Mus. nat. Hist., N.Y.Google Scholar
  6. Utrecht Micropaléontological Bulletins (1969—date), vols. 1–19. Also special publ. 1. State Univ. Utrecht, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar

Important General Works on Foraminifera or Micropalaeontology including Foraminifera, and Manuals on Major Groups

  1. Bartenstein, H., Ed. (1962). Leitfossilien de Mikropaläontologie, vols. 1 and 2. Borntraeger, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  2. Boltovskoy, E. and Wright, R. (1976). Recent Foraminifera. Dr W. Junk, The Hague Introductory chapters of general interestCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brasier, M. D. (1980). Microfossils. Allen and Unwin Ltd, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Cushman, J. A. (1948). Foraminifera, their Classification and Economic Use, 4th edn (reprint 1950). Harvard Univ. Press., Cambridge, Mass. Includes dichotomous key to generaGoogle Scholar
  5. Glaessner, M. F. (1963). Principles of Micro-palaeontology. Hafner, New York (reprint of 1945 edn with new introduction)Google Scholar
  6. Haq, B. U. and Boersma, Anne (1978). Introduction to Marine Micropaléontology. Elsevier — North-Holland Inc., AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  7. Jones, D. J. (1965). Introduction to Microfossils. Harper, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Lewis, K. B. (1970). A key to the Recent genera of the Foraminiferida. Bull. N.Z. Dep. scient. ind. Res., 196: 7–88Google Scholar
  9. Loeblich, A. R. and Tappan, Helen (1964). Protista 2. Sarcodina, chiefly ‘Thecamoebians’ and Foraminiferida Part C., in Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology (Moore, R. C., Ed.), 2 vols. Geol. Soc. America and Univ. Kans. PressGoogle Scholar
  10. Classification and description of over 1000 known generaGoogle Scholar
  11. Murray, J. W. (1973). Distribution and Ecology of Living Benthic Foraminiferids. Heinemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Pokorny, V. (1965). Principles of Zoological Micropalaeontology, vols. 1 and 2. Pergamon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Postuma, J. A. (1971). Manual of Planktonic Foraminifera. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  14. Ramsey, A. T. S., Ed. (1977). Oceanic Micro-palaeontology, vol. I. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Stainforth, R. M., Lamb, J. L., Luterbacher, H. et al. (1975). Cenozoic planktonic foraminiferal zonation and characteristics of index forms. Contr. Paleont., Univ. Kansas, art. 62. Text and atlasGoogle Scholar
  16. Wagner, C. W. (1964). Manual of Larger Foraminifera. Bataafse Internationale Petroleum Maatschappij N.V., The HagueGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© John R. Haynes 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Haynes
    • 1
  1. 1.University College of WalesAberystwyth, DyfedUK

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