- © 2011 Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research
Shelled granuloreticulose microorganisms have had a complex etymological history that began in 1826 when d’Orbigny gave his new order the name Foraminifères and characterized the group. Soon afterwards, further examination and proper Latinization established them as class Foraminifera. D’Orbigny should be credited with the suprafamilial group name, regardless of rank, because he provided defining characteristics, and also because higher taxa are not governed by ICZN rules; in addition, we should consider the history of its attribution and what is traditional and customary in zoological nomenclature. The name Foraminifera is the source of a variety of informal terms, including foraminifera, foraminifer, foraminiferan, and for-am. Long after being demoted to order, the Latinized name was modified to Foraminiferida in 1964 by Loeblich and Tappan, the informal foraminiferid was introduced later. Here, we briefly examine these terms as sets of singular and plural nouns, and their derived adjectives and nouns that begin with foram-. Authors can choose any of the derived terms, but they should be consistent by using only one term-set throughout their paper. Other nouns derived from foraminifer-, such as foraminiferologist for a student of the group, are not usually part of a term-set.
The informal term foram is a valid derivation and it is the most common of the names used in conversation among earth scientists and biologists. It is already accepted in major dictionaries and literature, and it has been used in specific word pairs found in scientific publications. In addition, foram eases communication by its multilingual applicability; it is also the easiest of the terms to pronounce, write, and read. For all these reasons, its use may increase in scientific literature.