Radiolarians are single-celled marine organisms, similar to foraminifera, which form siliceous shells with varying morphologies.

Radiolarians first emerged approximately 600 million years ago and are still common in oceans today, from the tropics to the Arctic. 

They inhabit depths from several hundred metres to the near surface, and generally have a planktonic lifestyle, floating in the ocean currents. 

Why study radiolarians?

Their abundance and long fossil record make radiolarians extremely useful for dating sedimentary rocks and understanding oceans of the past. 

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Glass models of radiolarians
Radiolarian collection

Learn about our radiolarian collection, which contains historically important material collected by Ernst Haeckel.