LITERARY ASPECTS OF THE FORAMINIFERA FOR THE
AMATEUR MICROSCOPIST

By Brian Darnton, UK

Illustrated with images of microscope slides prepared by the author.


As a result of recent articles on Foraminifera several readers have asked for
information on books on the subject. Most of them are out of print and can only be
obtained as second-hand items.

 

HISTORY.

There is some evidence that Pliny the elder was one of the first to discover Forams in a layer of fossils which he called a plaster layer in the rocks of Sicily (Ref. 1) though it was Dr. Ulisse Aldrovandi the Italian scientist and medical man who was the first to document them in his MUSEUM METALLICUM of 1648.

Robert Hook (1635-1703) was certainly one of the first to publish work on the Forams in English in his MICROGRAPHICA of 1665 (Ref. 2). On page 44 Scheme 5 fig 10. of the Dover version there is a small representation of a Foram which seems to be something like Ammonia beccarii.

Anthony van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) also made reference to the group in his letters to the Royal Society at a similar period of time. One of his drawings of an Elphidium crispum found at Scheveningen can be found reproduced in his biography by C. Dobel (Ref. 3) in ANTONY VAN LEEUWENHOEK AND HIS LITTLE ANIMALS.

None of these works were of any magnitude from the point of view of the Foraminifera and it was not until Carl Linnaeus wrote his SYSTEMA NATURAE 10th ed. during 1758-1759 (Ref. 4) that 15 different species were listed under the genus Nautilus. Towards the end of the 18th century and into the 19th century generic authors emerged and mushroomed throughout Europe; names that remain with us are Walker, Boys, Jacob, Soldani, Fitchel , d'Orbigny and of course Williamson.

Foraminifera from the Mediterranean Sea. Mounted in the manner of Alfred Earland Plate 44 Fig. D in "Microscopical Mounts and Mounters" ISBN 9514441-3-1, by Brian Bracegirdle, pub. QMC. From the Norman bequest. Arrangement ca. 7.5mm diameter.

 

RECENT LITERATURE ON THE FORAMINIFERA.

J.W.Murray.
AN ATLAS OF RECENT FORAMINIFERA.
1971 ISBN 0 435 62430 X Heinemann Press with 96 SEM plates.
This work contains the main comprehensive listing with illustrations of those recent
species common to the British Isles. Not all the rarer types that come in onto our
west coasts on the Atlantic drift are included. Estimated second-hand cost 15-35

 

R.W.Jones
THE CHALLENGER FORAMINIFERA.
1994 ISBN 19 854096 5 Oxford University Scientific Press.
This is a beautiful reprint of two of the Challenger volumes. It contains the original
coloured illustrations with a thoroughly updated listing of species and their
locations. In addition there is a resume of the voyage of the Challenger and a version of the Brady Biography. Recently in print new at 180.

 

J.A.Cushman.
FORAMINIFERA.
1980 fifth printing SBN 674 30802 8 Harvard University Press.
This is a standard text for global fossil and recent Foraminifera. The illustrations are
white on a black background and superbly done. There are normally two volumes but
sometimes they are bound together. The text must be regarded as not altogether up to
date, but perhaps updated versions now exist. Cushman published several general and specific works on the subject during his lifetime. Estimated second-hand cost 8-20

 

T. Saito et al
SYSTEMATIC INDEX OF RECENT AND PLEISTOCENE PLANKTON FORAMINIFERA.
ISBN 0 86008 280 6 University of Tokyo Press 1981.
This is a splendid book with excellent SEM plates but is confined to Plankton
species as per title. Estimated second-hand cost 10-15.

 

J.R.Haynes.
FORAMINIFERA.
This extensive text book contains 15 actual plates and over 100 text figures. Many of these contain fossil and sub-fossil listings with diagrams and illustrations, but the publication falls short of being a Foram atlas as such. There have been reprints and a not very recent value was about 64 new.

 

Dr. E. Th.N. Spiker
FORAMINIFEREN FOSSIL EN RECENT.
Wetenschappelijk mededelingen Nr 99 KNNV November 1973.
With 281 Monochrome Figs.
The very useful plates are contained in a detached working folder that is separate
from the main Dutch text. This was a very inexpensive production but would only be obtainable in the Netherlands second-hand.

 

Foraminifera from the Mediterranean Sea. Nine named. Dry mounted gum tragacanth. Arrangement including text ca. 9mm square.

 

ORDERING.

As well as ordinary book shops there are on line technical book shops. If they have a search engine attached, a good one would be expected to bring up around 40 references using the keyword "FORAMINIFERA". In this subject, the work of Chushman seems to be the most commonly available. His FORAMINIFERA is valued from US$20 to US$30 from the United States but expect postal charges.

In the United Kingdom, Savona Books at 9 Wilton Road Hornsea, North Humberside HU18 1GU Tel No. 0964 535195 will always oblige with a priced catalogue which often has books in this field.

 

Foraminifera from the Mediterranean Sea.
Dry mounted. Diameter of arrangement ca. 5mm.

 

REFERENCES.

Ref. 1. Aldrovandi U. MUSEUM METALLICUM 1648 page 711 Cap. 157. A good copy exists in the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London.

Ref. 2. R Hooke MICROGRAPHIA 1665 publ. J. Martyn and J. Allestry reprinted under Dover Books in 1961. Estimated second-hand of the Dover version costs 10-25

Ref. 3. C.Dobell ANTONY VAN LEEUWENHOEK AND HIS LITTLE ANIMALS
London 1932 New York (Dover Books) 1960. Estimated second-hand of the Dover version costs 10-25

Ref. 4. Carl Linnaeus SYSTEMA NATURAE 10th ed. 1758-1759. This can also be found in the Zoology library of the Natural History Museum.

 

OTHER ON-LINE LINKS.

The Kane Scientific Company of 109 Hicks Lane, Great Neck, NY 11024, USA
at:- http://www.kaneforam.com/index.html sell 3" models of the main 40 genera of the Foraminifera. Four pages of photographs of these 40 models can be downloaded from the
site. These in themselves are very useful educational aids for those who would like to become familiar with the external morphological characteristics of the main Genera.

Comments to the author Comments to the author sent via our contacts page quoting page url plus : ('bdarnton','')">Brian Darnton are welcomed. Brian prepares and sells a selected range of strewn and type microscope slides of Foraminifera. Visit Brian's Home Pages for details.

Brian's previous articles on Foraminifera can be found by typing 'Darnton' in the Article Library search engine, see link below.

 

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