Fossil stem in Rhynie Chert

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum

This plant stem (only 1.9mm in diameter) is preserved inside Rhynie Chert, a 400-million-year-old rock deposit known for its exceptionally preserved fossils.

Found near the village of Rhynie in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the Rhynie Chert fossils offer a window into past at a time when the first plants and animals were making the leap onto land.

A flurry of scientific activity accompanied the first discovery of Rhynie Chert fossils between 1910 and 1913. Since then, further collecting and analysis has revealed a diverse biota including primitive plants, algae, fungi, lichen and arthropods.

As Museum scientists apply the latest imaging techniques, genetic analyses and understanding to Rhynie Chert specimens, we are learning more about the diversity of early life on land and how organisms interacted with each other.

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  • Title: Fossil stem in Rhynie Chert
  • Location: Rhynie, Scotland
  • Subject Keywords: The Rise and Fall of Prehistoric Worlds