Curator of Micropaleontology Angelina Messina found beauty and wonder in some of the Museum’s tiniest specimens. She joined the staff in the 1930s, and with the help of Assistant Curator Eleanor Salmon, prepared catalogs of foraminifera—miniscule organisms that provide important markers to geologists and hold vital records of ancient climates within their fossilized chambers.
Messina’s work won international recognition. Her 69-volumeCatalogue of Foraminifera was a seminal work in micropaleontology, used in universities and every major micropaleontological laboratory of the large oil companies, and she also co-founded the journal Micropaleontology in 1955. Her work classifying the Museum’s foraminifera collection is still used by paleontologists, geologists, and climate scientists today. The collection itself is now part of a National Science Foundation-funded project to re-house and CT scan important specimens.
AMNH Library Special Collections