Modern applied scientific studies using groups of organisms are built on a still incomplete framework of taxonomic research extending back to the foundations of modern biology in the early nineteenth century. The strengths and weaknesses of a group’s taxonomy often reflect the legacy of influential individual taxonomists, and understanding this illuminates how history still affects current research. Radiolarians are single-celled marine plankton whose shells, when formed out of opaline silica (i.e. group Polycystinea) are common also as fossils in marine sediments and older rocks. They are used today mostly for applied research on geological age dating or past climate change....

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