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Genera/Species

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Orders/Classes

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Phyla

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Protists

Protists are essentially organisms that do not fit into any other categories. They are eukaryotic organisms, however they are not animals, plants or fungi. Only one phylum under Kingdom Protozoa is on the 2019 fossil list - Foraminifera.

Phylum Foraminifera

Picture(s) An illustration of various forams
Fossil Range Cambrian to Recent
Distinctive Features All forams possess a test, a shell secreted while the animal was alive. The shell is commonly made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or aggregated particles of sediment.
Typical Modes of Life/Habitat All are marine, living on or inside sediment (benthic). However, some are planktonic and float in the water column.
Adaptations Over Time While fossilized forams are typically very small, larger forams with complex shell structures have been found over time.
Common Names/Nicknames Forams
Additional Information The phylum Foraminifera, or as they are usually called, forams, are extremely basic fossils. They are single celled organisms, the oldest of which date back to the Cambrian. They became much more common when coral reefs expanded, and would die off without them. Forams are also useful indicators of past environments and can be good index fossils. The petroleum industry will typically analyze the foram content of the ground they want to drill in to determine whether or not to drill there. In the phylum Foraminifera, competitors must know the order Fusulinida and the genus Nummulites. In some circles, Foraminifera is considered a class or a sub-phylum to the phylum Retaria.

Order Fusulinida

Order Fusulinida (Fusulinids)
Picture(s) A diagram of fusulinid morphology
Fossil Range Upper Mississippian to Upper Permian
Taxonomy Domain: Eukaryota
Phylum: Retaria
Subphylum: Foraminifera
Distinctive Features As the test grows, it twists into a spiral around the single cell and forms chambers. They look similar to grains of wheat
Typical Modes of Life/Habitat Most were planktonic, living in clear marine water far from shore.
Adaptations Over Time Example
Common Names/Nicknames Fusulinids
Additional Information Fusulinids have also been considered a genus instead of an order in some classifications. They are some of the most complex forams. Fusulinids were omnivorous, eating via reticulopodia (cell extensions), which projected through pores in the test to catch small creatures.