Extinct foraminifera figured in Brady’s Challenger Report
Keywords: Deep-sea benthic foraminifera, mid-Pleistocene extinctions, Challenger Expedition, Brady
Abstract. Brady’s (1884) widely available monograph on foraminifera from the Challenger Expedition is generally assumed to illustrate hundreds of living species from modern seafloor sediment from around the world. This assumption may have contributed to the delay in recognizing the youngest extinction ‘episode’ in the deep sea, which occurred during the mid-Pleistocene Climate Transition. At least 18 of the species illustrated by Brady are part of the group of c. 70 elongate, benthic foraminifera now known to have died out globally between 1.2 and 0.6 million years ago. The figured specimens were sampled from just seven stations that presumably contain relict or reworked sediment, possibly mixed in with Holocene. The majority (14 species) come from two stations (191A, 192) off Kei Islands, Banda Sea, Indonesia. Station 192, from c. 250 m depth, is considerably shallower than the established fossil bathymetric ranges of the extinct species and therefore tectonic uplift is inferred. Additional pre-Holocene or even extinct species may also be among those illustrated by Brady, especially from the seven stations so far identified.