Really thrilled to continue seeing the American Museum of Natural History series Shelf Life. I blogged about this series earlier on in the year and they have kept to their word with interesting and unique instalments.
In Episode 6 we get to hear about micropaleontology, the study of fossil specimens that are so tiny you cannot see them with the naked eye. The scientist and researchers tell us about foramnifera, unicellular organisms belonging to the kingdom Protista and which go back to about 65 million years. In spite of being unicellular, they make shells! And this is indeed what makes it possible for them to become fossilised.
Interestingly enough these fossils allow us to used them as ways to tell something about ancient climate data. As Roberto Moncada pointed out to me:
According to our expert in the piece, basically every representational graph you’ve ever seen of climate/temperatures from the Earth’s past is derived from analyzing these tiny little creatures.
The Tiniest Fossils are indeed among the most important for climate research!