Geological and palaeontological research in the Rhynie area, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, has progressed in several stages. Following early surveys in the nineteenth century, Dr William Mackie mapped the western margin of the basin in 1910–1913, and discovered the plant-bearing chert. Following trenching of the chert in 1913, Kidston & Lang described the plant fossils between 1917 and 1921 and Scourfield, Hirst and Maulik the arthropods in the 1920s. Following a ‘dark age’ of some 30 years, Geoffrey Lyon awakened interest in the late 1950s. Trenching in 1963–1971 provided Lyon and his co-workers with new material, and resulted in finds of new plants and reinterpretations of earlier work. The next phase was initiated by Winfried Remy's discovery of gametophytes in material given to him by Lyon. Since 1980, the Münster school has continued to make exciting discoveries. Aberdeen University involvement began in 1987 with geochemical work confirming a hot spring origin for the chert. Drill cores taken in 1988 and 1997, and further trenching have allowed structural, sedimentological and stratigraphic reappraisals, and resulted in the discovery of a new biota in the Windyfield chert. Long-term collaborative international research continues to advance interpretation of this unique Early Devonian hot spring system, and the remarkably diverse freshwater and terrestrial biota of the cherts.
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