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Article: Diverse fossil amoebae in German Mesozoic amber

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 47
Part: 2
Publication Date: March 2004
Page(s): 185 197
Author(s): Alexander R. Schmidt, Wilfried Schönborn and Ursula Schäfer
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How to Cite

SCHMIDT, A. R., SCHÖNBORN, W., SCHÄFER, U. 2004. Diverse fossil amoebae in German Mesozoic amber. Palaeontology47, 2, 185–197.

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Fossil amoebae are very rare, although their evolutionary history extends back into the Proterozoic. The Cenomanian amber of Schliersee (southern Germany) is very rich in micro-organisms and contains the highest diversity of fossil freshwater rhizopods (Gymnamoebia and Testacealobosia) yet discovered. Altogether seven testate amoebae and one gymnamoebian species are recorded from this Mesozoic amber. The four newly discovered taxa described in this paper can be assigned to the extant species Centropyxis delicatula, Centropyxis hirsuta, Phryganella acropodia and Phryganella paradoxa. Over 200 individuals of Phryganella paradoxa are preserved. Together with their syninclusions, the amoebae are species of limnetic or limnetic-terrestrial microcoenoses. The presence of 100-myr-old fossils with extant representatives suggests evolutionary stasis of these freshwater amoebae. However, not all modern testacean families have been recorded from Mesozoic limnetic habitats. Our experimental studies verify that naked and testate amoebae can be embedded in resins.
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