Modelling the Plants and Ecosystem of the Rhynie Chert

Mark Koleszar


This thesis presents an attempt to model extinct plants described by fossil data. The well- preserved plants of the Rhynie chert in northeast Scotland were chosen due to the amount of information available and their scientific significance. These plants are modelled with L-system techniques developed to model extant plant species.

Fossil specimens of each plant species and the observations of palaeobotanists working with these fossils were used to reconstruct different stages of development of the Rhynie chert plants, and model their growth. These represent the first dynamic models of these ancient plants, since previous models have been static drawings or sculptures.

Ecological information about the Rhynie chert plants is also available. This information was used to create an ecosystem model that simulates the interactions between the plants and the environment. The ecosystem model and the individual plant models were then combined into final images that represent the overall appearance of the ancient Rhynie chert.


Mark Koleszar. Modelling the Plants and Ecosystem of the Rhynie Chert. M.Sc. thesis, University of Calgary, September 2015.

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