Abstract

The taxonomy and phylogeny of the planktonic foraminifera Fohsella lineage has been controversial for nearly 50 years, despite its widespread application in Middle Miocene stratigraphy. We have re-examined type specimens of this lineage together with specimens from a continuous deep-sea record (Ocean Drilling Program Site 806, Ontong Java Plateau, western equatorial Pacific Ocean) with an astronomic chronology. Landmark-based geometric morphometry is employed to visualize and quantify morphologic variation within this lineage. Combined morphologic and stratigraphic data help clarify the evolutionary occurrence of diagnostic traits that characterize two problematic taxa, F. praefohsi and F. “praefohsi”, resulting in a revised taxonomy and phylogeny of the lineage. We emphasize the importance of biometric studies of populations from continuous geologic records in establishing taxonomy and phylogeny of planktonic foraminifera. In the past, over-emphasis on the importance of type specimens as reference points in delineating various evolutionary stages of the Fohsella lineage has resulted in inaccurate phylogenetic reconstructions.

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