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foraminifer

[fawr-uh-min-uh-fer, for-] /ˌfɔr əˈmɪn ə fər, ˌfɒr-/
noun, plural foraminifers, foraminifera
[fuh-ram-uh-nif-er-uh] /fəˌræm əˈnɪf ər ə/ (Show IPA)
1.
any chiefly marine protozoan of the sarcodinian order Foraminifera, typically having a linear, spiral, or concentric shell perforated by small holes or pores through which pseudopodia extend.
Also called foraminiferan
[fuh-ram-uh-nif-er-uh n] /fəˌræm əˈnɪf ər ən/ (Show IPA),
foram.
Origin
1835-1845
1835-45; < Neo-Latin Foraminifera, equivalent to Latin forāmin-, stem of forāmen foramen + -ifera; see -i-, -fer
Related forms
foraminiferal, foraminiferous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for foraminiferan

foraminifer

/ˌfɒrəˈmɪnɪfə/
noun
1.
any marine protozoan of the phylum Foraminifera, having a shell with numerous openings through which cytoplasmic processes protrude Often shortened to foram See also globigerina, nummulite
Derived Forms
foraminiferal (fɒˌræmɪˈnɪfərəl), foraminiferous, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin, from foramen + -fer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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foraminiferan in Science
foraminiferan
  (fə-rām'ə-nĭf'ər-ən)   
Any of various chiefly marine protozoans of the order Foraminiferida or Foraminifera, having a body enclosed by a shell called a test and making up an important constituent of plankton. Perforations in a foraminiferan's test allow the protrusion of numerous long extensions (pseudopods), which form a net used to trap food. The tests of foraminiferans grow throughout the organism's life, and can exceed 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter. The tests of dead organisms form ooze found on the ocean floor. Extinct foraminiferans are important index fossils.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for foraminiferan

any unicellular organism of the rhizopodan order Foraminiferida (formerly Foraminifera), characterized by long, fine pseudopodia that extend from a uninucleated or multinucleated cytoplasmic body encased within a test, or shell. Depending on the species, the test ranges in size from minute to more than 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter and varies in shape, number of chambers, chemical composition, and surface orientation. Tests of a South Pacific species are large enough to be used as jewelry by oceanic islanders; Nummulite specimens from the Eocene limestones of the Egyptian pyramids often exceed 5 cm in diameter. Foraminiferans inhabit virtually all marine waters and are found at almost all depths, wherever there is protection and suitable food (microscopic organisms)

Learn more about foraminiferan with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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