1979 Edition


  • T. C. MooreJr.
  • R. J. Echols
Reference work entry

Micropaleontology is that branch of paleontology dealing with fossils that, owing to their small size, must be studied with a microscope. These ancient organic remains, called microfossils, range from giants of a few centimeters in size down to minute objects a few microns in diameter that require electron microscopy for study (Glaessner, 1945; Ericson and Wollin, 1962; Pokorny, 1963; Haq and Boersma, 1978). Often, well-preserved microfossils can be recovered in large numbers from relatively small rock or sediment samples such as those obtained from the drilling of an oil well. Indeed, the tremendous expansion of micropaleontology in this century reflects the influence that economic application in the petroleum industry has played in the development of this branch of science.

Microfossils are derived from diverse parts of the organic world. These consist of: (1) complete skeletons of microorganisms, such as foraminifera, radiolarians, and ostracodes; (2) individual elements from...

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© Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Inc. 1979

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  • T. C. MooreJr.
  • R. J. Echols

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