Foraminiferal palaeontology has deep roots in SE Asia. Accidents of history have, however, greatly reduced the role of the region in modern micropalaeontological studies. To understand this history some analogues can be made to natural evolutionary processes, whereby variations in the stability of an environment produce different selection pressures. The early days were times of multi-talented and flexible pioneers doing their own fieldwork, palaeontology and geology. This blossomed into a period of stability and the development of finely tuned specialists. The modern era, however, is dominated by a selection process that has commoditized analyses and discourages innovation. This negative pressure affected many geological services. For biostratigraphy, however, it came at the same time as the computing revolution in seismics; when micropalaeontology should have evolved alongside better subsurface imaging, it faded into the background. Foraminiferal studies will regain their importance when the environmental pressures change. With fantastically rich faunas and complex geology that is in need of the best analytical methods, it is a wonderful laboratory for facies analysis and stratigraphy as well as pure palaeontology.
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This TMS Special Publication comprises a collection of 23 papers with an international authorship reflecting on landmarks in the history and development of Foraminiferal micropalaeontology. The volume is prefaced by an introductory overview that provides a brief and selected historical setting, as well as the intended aims of the book. Selected developments in Foraminiferal studies from a global perspective are presented from the time of Alcide d’Orbignyand the founding of the Paris MNHN collections in the mid-nineteenth century to the use of foraminifera in industry, other museum collections, palaeoceanography and environmental studies, regional studies from the Southern Hemisphere and the riseand fall of significant research schools. The book concludes with a chapter on the modelling of foraminifera. Landmarks in Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology: History and Development will be of particular interest to micropalaeontologists, other Earth scientists, historians of science, museum curators and the general reader with an interest in science.