Devonian creature or random assemblage ?
deutsche Version

The Devonian chert from Rhynie, famous for the preservation of a more or less watery habitat including early land plants and small creatures, has provided discoveries for more than a hundred years. As there are several unique ones among the own finds (Rhynie Chert - 50, 69, 107, 148), in the sense that the plant or creature was unknown before and is now known as one specimen only, it may be concluded that Rhynie has to offer more unique things. One of them is presented here: Fig.1.
unknown creature
unknown creature
Fig.1a,b: Peculiar fossil of uncommon aspect on a cut face of Rhynie chert, with drawing of apparent contours.
Image width 4mm.
Sample: Rh2/71,
found in 2001.

At first sight, attention may be drawn to what seems to be a bulky arthropod of about 3mm length with a few details seen in partially clear outline but nevertheless enigmatic: Fig.2. One cannot even be sure whether it is a creature at all or a mere random assemblage of unrelated parts.

Two conspicuous objects of apparently rod-like aspect in Fig.1 with a pointed tip each, (below in Fig.3 and above in Fig.4), seem to somehow belong together. They do not resemble arthropod leg parts or charophyte alga tubes.
unknown partsunknown partsunknown tip
Fig.2 (far left): Enigmatic parts with partially clearly seen contours.
    Detail of Fig.1, image height 1mm; same magnification for Figs. 2-4.
Fig.3: Lower end of the seemingly rod-like object in Fig.1 with pointed tip.

Fig.4: Upper end of the object with pointed tip, left in Fig.1.

One may wonder why the two tips are clearly seen on this incidentally chosen cut plane. The seemingly rod-like objects in Fig.1 might be platelets with a sharp edge appearing as a tip in cross-section.

Also remarkable are a few details of the unknown parts clearly seen but not interpreted here.
Although these structures are quite extraordinary, the chert sample is not uncommon. It is of an ordinary type, with land plants and fungi. None of the ten cut faces of this sample has revealed structures
like those in Figs.1-4. Suggestions concerning their true nature would be welcome.

H.-J. Weiss     2021
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