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Krings, Michael (2021): Rhyniotaxillus minutulus n. sp., a pico-sized colonial cyanobacterium from the 410-million-yr-old Windyfield chert of Scotland. In: Nova Hedwigia, Vol. 113, No. 1-2: pp. 17-31

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Pico-sized cyanobacteria [average cell size 0.2-2(-3) mu m] have not been hitherto reported from the Lower Devonian Rhynie and Windyfield cherts. Microscopic examination of a section of the Windyfield chert at high magnification has recently yielded fossils of a cyanobacterium with cells 0.6-1.2 mu m in diameter that formed cuboid to rounded colonies of up to 64 cells surrounded by prominent gelatinous envelopes. Because colony morphology parallels that seen in the much larger Rhynie chert cyanobacterium Rhyniotaxillus devonicus, the new form is interpreted as another species of Rhyniotaxillus, and the name Rh. minutulus is proposed for it. Rhyniotaxillus minutulus has features in common with Entophysalis (Chroococcales) and its Precambrian fossil equivalent Eoentophysalis;however, the systematic affinity remains unresolved. This discovery opens a new page in the documentation of the cyanobacterial biodiversity in the Rhynie paleoecosystem by adding to the inventory the first pico-sized form.

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