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Publication Detail
Spine-like structures in Paleogene muricate planktonic foraminifera
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Pearson PN, John E, Wade BS, D'haenens S, Lear CH
  • Publisher:
    Copernicus GmbH
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    107, 127
  • Journal:
    Journal of Micropalaeontology
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Language:
  • Notes:
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Muricate planktonic foraminifera comprise an extinct clade that was diverse and abundant in the Paleogene oceans and are widely used in palaeoclimate research as geochemical proxy carriers for the upper oceans. Their characteristic wall texture has surface projections called “muricae” formed by upward deflection and mounding of successive layers of the test wall. The group is generally considered to have lacked “true spines”: that is, acicular calcite crystals embedded in and projecting from the test surface such as occur in many modern and some Paleogene groups. Here we present evidence from polished sections, surface wall scanning electron microscope images and test dissections, showing that radially orientated crystalline spine-like structures occur in the centre of muricae in various species of Acarinina and Morozovella and projected from the test wall in life. Their morphology and placement in the wall suggest that they evolved independently of true spines. Nevertheless, they may have served a similar range of functions as spines in modern species, including aiding buoyancy and predation and especially harbouring algal photosymbionts, the function for which we suggest they probably first evolved. Our observations strengthen the analogy between Paleogene mixed-layer-dwelling planktonic foraminifera and their modern spinose counterparts.
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