STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Foraminiferan. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a fractured foraminiferan test. Foraminiferans are marine single-celled protists that construct and inhabit shells (tests), which are composed of the several chambers seen here. They are one of the oldest phylogenetic groups (taxa) to continue existing. Foraminiferan fossils date back to the Cambrian period (about 540 million years ago) but may have existed for as long as 1.2 billion years. Magnification: x300 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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