Photograph: Fungus chlamydospores of two largely differing sizes
within plant debris in Rhynie chert, Lower Devonian. Width of the
Fossil fungi is a highly intricate subject, investigated by
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 .
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
collection of these is shown in a comprehensive early publication on
fossil fungi in the Rhynie chert . 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.
fungus-induced void pattern on cross-sections of Rhynie
small chlamydospores within big one in decayed Rhynia
void pattern on twin cross-sections of Rhynie chert plant
cross-section with dark cell fills
symbiotic fungus in Rhynie
chert plants forming dark clots in cells
additional evidence for fungus-induced void pattern formation
funny fossil fungus formations
several manifestations of Devonian fungi
symbiotic fungus in Trichopherophyton
forming dark clots in cells
stepwise silicification deduced from hypha
hyphae curved and surprisingly straight
miniature fossil sewage tank
cell-size dark clots often mistaken for mite coprolites
87 hyphae with microbial debris and thick coating
instructive examples of fungus resting spores
clusters of chytrid (?) zoosporangia resembling but differing from Trewinomyces
wavy hyphae resembling the extant mycoparasite Trichoderma
more wavy hyphae like Trichoderma
113 microbial formations with cluster of Zwergimyces
115 Zwergimyces globules densely
spheres that come in pairs
117 fungus-induced voids on cross-sections
spheres with alga connection
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
148. more wavy hyphae like Trichoderma
14 hyphae with multiple coatings
17 microbes, hyphae, chlamydospores, Scolecopteris
Perhaps most of the cell-size dark clots in
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.
2011, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2020
Taylor, J.M. Osborn: The importance of
fungi in shaping the paleoecosystem.
Rev. Palaeobot. Palyn.
 D. Redecker:
New views on fungal evolution based on DNA markers and the fossil
Res. Microbiology 153(2002),
Kidston, W.H. Lang : On Old Red Sandstone
plants showing structure ... Part V. The Thallophyta ...
Trans. Roy. Soc. Edinburgh 52
M. Krings, E.L. Taylor: Fossil
Fungi. Elsevier 2015.