Microfossils with suggested affinities tot he Pyramimonadales from the Lower Devonian Rhynie chert

Evelyn Kustatscher, Nora Dotzler, Thomas N. Taylor & Michael Krings

An assemblage of unusual microfossils occurs within an accumulation of plant debris, hyphae, and various types of propagules in the Early Devonian Rhynie chert. Specimens consist of a vesicle with one or more prominent wings (alae) arising from the surface; one wing forms a rim around the equator of the vesicle. The microfossils are interpreted as phycomata of a prasinophycean green alga based on morphological similarities to Pterospermella, a microfossil similar to phycoma stages of the extant Pterosperma (Pyramimonadales). This report represents the third record of phycomata in the Rhynie chert, suggesting that this Early Devonian ecosystem served as habitat to a variety of prasinophyte algae. Moreover, the new microfossils add to the inventory of fossil freshwater representatives of this predominantly marine group of algae.

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