Paleontological Journal

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 107–114

The most ancient terrestrial lichen Winfrenatia reticulata: A new find and new interpretation


    • Komarov Botanical InstituteRussian Academy of Sciences
  • N. S. Snigirevskaya
    • Komarov Botanical InstituteRussian Academy of Sciences
  • S. V. Vikulin
    • Komarov Botanical InstituteRussian Academy of Sciences

DOI: 10.1134/S0031030109010110

Cite this article as:
Karatygin, I.V., Snigirevskaya, N.S. & Vikulin, S.V. Paleontol. J. (2009) 43: 107. doi:10.1134/S0031030109010110


Silicified fossils from Rhynie cherts in Scotland are studied. A lichen belonging to the genus Winfrenatia is detected and studied. This oldest terrestrial lichen is dated to the Pragian (=Siegenian) of the Early Devonian. New characters of the lichen are described, and their new interpretation is given. The main component of the lichen thallus is a filamentous cyanobacterium (Nostocales). Structures which were interpreted as fungal hyphae are probably hollow sheaths of this cyanobacterium. Mycobiont hyphae develop at the base of the thallus and symbiose with a coccoid cyanobacterium. Thus, Winfrenatia reticulata is a three-parted organism, constituted of a mycobiont and filamentous and coccoid cyanobacteria.

Key words

lichenscyanobacteriaEarly Devoniansymbiosisfossilscoevolution

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2009