Fungus chlamydospores of two largely differing sizes
Fossil fungi

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Photograph: Fungus chlamydospores of two largely differing sizes within plant debris in Rhynie chert, Lower Devonian. Width of the picture 2mm.

Fossil fungi is a highly intricate subject, investigated by only very few palaeobotanists, although they represent an important component of ancient ecosystems [1,2]. Much work on fossil fungi has been done lately but some of the fungi and related phenomena reported here are not covered by the recent monograph Fossil Fungi [4].
The delicate hyphae are seldom preserved, not even in chert, with the exception of the Rhynie chert, where they are abundant and represent several species. More suitable for preservation are the spherical or ovoid objects called resting spores, chlamydospores, or vesicles. A diverse collection of these is shown in a comprehensive early publication on fossil fungi in the Rhynie chert [3]. Some are not named but only numbered there, and apparently some of them have not yet got a scientific name hitherto. Hence it seems useful to look for more details related to fungi in chert.  
left: Fungus chlamydospore and hypha near forking xylem strand of the early land plant Trichopherophyton ; transparent chalcedony with yellow precipitate and quartz crystals in the background, Rhynie chert. Width of the picture 1.4mm.
right: Fungus hyphae, interconnected, well preserved in Rhynie chert. Picture width 2.5mm.

Contributions       Subject
Rhynie Chert News
  4    fungus-induced void pattern on cross-sections of Rhynie chert plant
19    small chlamydospores within big one in decayed Rhynia
    fungus-induced void pattern on twin cross-sections of Rhynie chert plant
28    fungus-affected Asteroxylon cross-section with dark cell fills
32    symbiotic fungus in
Rhynie chert plants forming dark clots in cells
54    additional evidence for fungus-induced void pattern formation
55    funny fossil fungus formations
63    several manifestations of Devonian fungi
symbiotic fungus in Trichopherophyton forming dark clots in cells
77    stepwise silicification deduced from hypha coating thickness
78    hyphae curved and surprisingly straight
84    miniature fossil sewage tank
85    cell-size dark clots often mistaken for mite coprolites

87    hyphae with microbial debris and thick coating
104  instructive examples of fungus resting spores
108  clusters of chytrid (?) zoosporangia resembling but differing from Trewinomyces  
109  wavy hyphae resembling the extant
mycoparasite Trichoderma
111  more wavy hyphae like Trichoderma
113  microbial formations with cluster of Zwergimyces
Zwergimyces globules densely clustered
116  fungus-related spheres that come in pairs
117  fungus-induced voids on cross-sections
119  fungus-related spheres with fancy fills
fungus-related spheres with alga connection
124. Asteroxylon tissue affected by fungi
130. Aglaophyton hollow straw twin sections
142. hyphae with thick silica gel coatings
143. branched hyphae with thick silica gel coatings
145. tangles of hyphae with silica gel coatings
more wavy hyphae like Trichoderma
153. nematophyte or fungus ?
straight and wavy hyphae in Aglaophyton
163. big chlamydospores with coloured fills
173. surprisngly straight hyphae
165. parasite scabs on Rhynie chert plants
big glossy chlamydospores
186. conspicuous big ellipsoid-shaped chlamydospore in hollow Aglaophyton

Permian Chert News
14   hyphae with multiple coatings
17   microbes, hyphae, chlamydospores, Scolecopteris

Perhaps most of the cell-size dark clots in Palaeozoic plant fossils thought to be mite coprolites are no such but fungus formations instead. See several contributions under Misconceptions, Oribatid mite coprolites, or under "Wood rot and coprolites" on the Site map.

H.-J. Weiss      2011, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2022

[1] T.N. Taylor, J.M. Osborn:  The importance of fungi in shaping the paleoecosystem.
      Rev. Palaeobot. Palyn. 90(1996), 249-262.
[2] D. Redecker: New views on fungal evolution based on DNA markers and the fossil record.
     Res. Microbiology 153(2002), 125-130.
[3]  R. Kidston, W.H. Lang : On Old Red Sandstone plants showing structure ... Part V. The Thallophyta ...
      Trans. Roy. Soc. Edinburgh 52 (1921), 855-902.
[4] T.N.Taylor, M. Krings, E.L. Taylor: Fossil Fungi. Elsevier 2015.

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