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Large protists

Jere H. Lipps jlipps at UCMP1.BERKELEY.EDU
Fri Jun 3 19:28:16 EST 1994

In response to the debate on the largest protist going on on
protista at net.bio.net:

While I like whales and kelp, foraminifera are better!  Forams are single
celled, secrete a hard skeleton you can keep on your desk, in your pocket,
or as a necklace around your neck (Marginopora or Sorites) to impress your
friends with.  The largest living foram is Cycloclypeus at greater than 5
cm across its test, which looks like a normal potato chip (unruffled) (See
Song, Black & Lipps, 1994, Paleobiology, v. 20, p. 14-26 for discussion of
its test), but extinct Paleozoic fusulinaceans get over 6 cm (cigar shaped)
and some Tertiary alveolinids get over 11 cm.  Commonality is that all
these larger forams had or have symbionts to help them secrete all that
calcite.  Most are good rock-formers, so you cut yourself a nice paper
weight or make a tie clip.  The Egyptians even made their pyramids from
Nummulites (in limestone).  

Jere H. Lipps
Department of Integrative Biology &
Museum of Paleontology
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720
510-642-9006 fax 642-1822
jlipps at ucmp1.berkeley.edu

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