The Rhynie Chert Fauna
The fauna of the Rhynie chert is far less abundant than the flora, and many of the animals are known from only a few specimens that were fortuitously trapped in the hot-spring sinter. However, when a block of chert containing animals is found, they can be quite common. Thus the distribution of animal fossils is very patchy in the chert deposits.
Recently, by careful examination of the Windyfield chert, several new animals have been discovered at Rhynie. Some are described by Anderson and Trewin (2003), Dunlop et al. (2003), Fayers and Trewin (2003), and others are currently being described. The fauna includes arthropods that lived in both terrestrial and freshwater environments. With recent additions to the faunal list, the Rhynie fauna is now the most diverse associated freshwater and terrestrial fauna known from the Devonian and earlier periods of geological time.
To date, seven distinct groups of arthropods have been identified from the Rhynie chert, and are described below.
Note: There are a number of fossil arthropods described and named from the Rhynie chert of which only a few fragmentary remains have been found and which lack sufficient diagnostic features to assign the animals to a higher group. For the purpose of this resource, these will be only be mentioned in the general list given below.
Click on the hyperlink below for a basic overview of the animals:
Click on the group name for detailed descriptions of the animals and their palaeoecology: