Fossils of the oldest fungus on Earth have been discovered. It is about a billion years old
Microscopic fossils found in mud on Victoria Island, which is part of the Arctic Archipelago, are the remains of the oldest known fungus on Earth, researchers believe. Scientists have estimated their age at nearly a billion years.
Fossils of small organismsow were discovered in shale deposits south of Victoria Island at the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Analysis of fine-grained sedimentary rocks, whichore had been accumulating at the site for millions ofow years have revealed that the tiny organisms formed between 900 millionow a 1 billion years ago.
If the dating is confirmed, these will be the remains of the oldest fungi on Earth. Until now, the oldest fossils of fungiow were considered to be specimens numbering 407 millionoin years coming from Scotland. The results of the study of ancient fungioin were published in the journal „Nature”.
The newly discovered fungus has been named Ourasphaira giraldae. The fossils found are surprisingly well-preserved and reveal the complex structure of prehistoric fungiow.
Using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and a transmission electron microscope, the researchers were able to clearly identify key features of the fungus, including its spherical spores, branching włoThe knaves that connect them and their two-layered walls comorkowe. They also detected the presence of chitin, a compound found in the walls of comorkowe fungusow.
If this research is not challenged by other researchers, it could change the understanding of how fungi evolved. Although it must be admitted that not all scientists are convinced that the discovery is really a fungus. – There are reasons to believe it is feasible at this point, but more data would help in the assessment, said Mary Berbee, a mycologist at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
The fossils were discovered by a research group led by paleobiologist Corentin Loron of the University of Liège in Belgium. The fungus was trapped in the mud, preventing oxygen penetration and decomposition. – Conservation is so good that we still have organic compounds,” said Loron, head of theowny author of the study.
Fungi play a key role in ecosystems, breaking down organic matter and returning nutrients to the soil. Are an essential component of the circulation of matter in nature. The existence of the fungusoin a billion years ago suggests that these organisms laid the foundation for the first plants, ktore colonized the earth around 500 millionow years ago.
The extreme age of a newly discovered fungus may affect the history of other life on Earth. If fungi already evolved a billion years ago, other organisms may have done so as well. – If they are really fungi, they should also be animals, Loron said. – Not mot here about nothing as big as dinosaurs. That would be something very simple. Maybe a sponge – added.
The appearance of the fungal fossilsoIn older by more than po³ billion years from earlier oldest specimensow is certainly a surprise, although one has to wait for the analyses of other research groups, because fossils of fungusow are often very difficult to identify.