While we are looking at the chert, the
chert sometimes looks
back at us
as if inviting us to look deeper. Inspecting a cut and polished face of
Rhynie chert compares to wandering about a secret garden with strange
everywhere and crawling creatures mostly in hiding.
400 million years ago there was not much diversity so that
not difficult to learn the names of all the Higher Plants from
Rhynie by heart. It
is more difficult to tell which section of a plant part seen in the
chert belongs to which plant.
This alien face with intent look offers a most uncommon
aspect of the most common plant in the chert,
formerly known as Rhynia
major but arguably renamed Aglaophyton major.
The odd-shaped outline and double central strand indicate that it is an
inclined cut near a forking point of the shoot.
The seam of loosely clustered dark dots consists of cells
the symbiotic fungus Glomites
The chert preserves not only things but also information concerning its
formation from mud and silica-rich
water. The shrinkage cracks
running across the face in this picture must be
due to the well-known contraction during the formation
of hard chert from silica gel. They show that
silicification proceeded at differential rates inside and outside the
The picture on the right (width 10mm) is to show that lots of more
fascinating structures in the Rhynie chert are awaiting description and
possibly explanation in the series of contributions called Rhynie