30 December 2009


The Foraminifera Sculpture Park in Guangzhou Province officially opened this month and is dedicated to large sculptures of these single-cell marine organisms. Marine geologist Bilal Haq of the National Science Foundation got the idea of a sculpture park a decade ago after seeing palm-sized models of foraminifera in the lab of marine biologist Zheng Shouyi at the Institute of Oceanology in Qingdao, China. Zheng persuaded local authorities to pursue the idea. The 114 sculptures were carved out of marble, granite, and sandstone.
-- a random sample in Science.

D'Arcy Thompson wrote of the Foraminifera:
In few other groups, perhaps only among the Radiolaria, do we seem to possess so nearly complete a picture of all the possible transitions between form and form, and of the whole branching system of the evolutionary tree: as though little or nothing of it had ever perished, and whole web of life, past and present, were as complete as ever.

He adds:
in days gone by I used to see the beach of a little Connemara bay bestrewn with millions upon millions of foraminiferal shells, simple Lagenae, less simple Nodosariae, more complex Rotiliae: all drifted by wave and gentle current from their sea-cradle to their sandy grave: all lying bleached and dead: one more delicate than another, but all (or vast multitudes of them) perfect and unbroken.

Image: Micropolitan

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