Miliolida foraminifera

The perfect geometry of a single-celled organism fossil


The discovery of a fossil may seem exceptional, but fossils are actually very common.


We don’t notice them because they are often not well formed enough to stand out, or, more frequently, because they are microscopic.


This fossil is smaller than 1 millimetre. It is the shell of a marine organism that consisted of a single cell.


This organism, a miliolida foraminifera, lived on the bed of a tropical sea that was several tens of metres deep.

Organisms such as this still live in seas all over the world today. They can be observed only with a lens or microscope, and it is not uncommon to find them mixed with the sand on beaches. If you come across one, they look like a small seed made from white porcelain. Of course, you can only seem them if you look at the sand with a magnifying glass.


Marly fossiliferous limestone

Type of rock:

: Carbonatic sedimentary rock, with clay

Minerals: Calcite

foraminifera (nummulites, discocycline, others), red algae, echinoderms, molluscs

Località: Nago (N.45°52’45.8″ E010°53’11.1″)
Formation: Limestone of Torbole

Middle ecocene (about 56-38 million years)

Depositional environment: shallow Sea (a few tens of meters), tropical


Did you know that the foraminìferi comprise around 50 families and over 15.000 species.