Three-dimensional imaging of the Jurassic radiolarian Protunuma ? ochiensis Matsuoka: an experimental study using high-resolution X-ray micro-computed tomography

Naoto ISHIDA, Naoko KISHIMOTO, Atsushi MATSUOKA, Katsunori KIMOTO, Toshiyuki KURIHARA, Takashi YOSHINO


To evaluate the utility of high-resolution micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) in observing radiolarian fossils, we examined the skeleton of the Jurassic radiolarian fossil Protunuma ? ochiensis Matsuoka using a micro-CT device. Although this species is a closed Nassellarian with a thick exterior wall, important taxonomic characters on the interior and exterior of the shell were represented almost perfectly in the acquired three-dimensional computer graphic images. These characters include those documented in the original description, such as the height and width of the skeleton, the outline, the number of segments, the pore arrangement and other features. In addition, the structure of the initial spicule of this species was revealed newly. An enlarged plaster radiolarian model printed using the laminated modelling method was useful for detailed observation. Nondestructive omnidirectional observation is an advantage of this method, which is not possible with scanning electron microscopy or optical microscopic investigations. Micro-CT technology would become an effective observational tool for radiolarian studies in the near future.


three-dimensional imaging; X-ray micro-computed tomography; laminated object manufacturing; Radiolaria; Protunuma ? ochiensis.

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