Levels of Attainment


Final Honours Level

The main aim of this resource is to provide basic information on the Rhynie chert, its geology and palaeontology, that can be used as a final year Honours course in palaeontology / early terrestrial environments. At this level students would be expected to broaden their knowledge through use of the recommended literature, and to integrate information from different sources. The course thus involves an essential element of self-learning on the part of students. This self-learning can be backed by tutorial sessions and the web-site can proxy for information-based illustrated lectures.

A useful form of tutorial might involve individuals or groups, each of which is asked to prepare a short presentation (oral or poster) on a single aspect of the course content (e.g. history of research, the ancient environment, a plant or animal genus, adaptation for life on land).


Junior Honours Level

At more junior university levels the information provided can be used with only basic use of literature (e.g. book summaries and review papers). A tutorial approach here might be to ask students to find answers to specific questions on the geology and palaeontology of the site.


Specialist Topic in a Non-Geological Course

The resource can also be utilised as a 'topic' within a broader course, such as:

  • Palaeobotany and botany
  • Early terrestrial environments
  • Origins of terrestrial arthropods
  • The invasion of the land by life


Basic University Level

At the lowest level of university use, the site could be used purely to answer questions set to groups of individuals, for example:

  • What is the evidence for hot-springs 400 millions years ago at Rhynie, northeast Scotland?
  • What is the evidence for land dwelling plants in the Early Devonian?
  • Discuss the early history of land-dwelling (air-breathing) animals.
  • What is the evidence for decomposition of plants in the Rhynie chert?

Pre-University Level

At pre-university level the basic information and illustrations can be used to give a general appreciation of the nature and importance of the fossil remains in the Rhynie chert.