From a plant soil expert:
Because of their delicate organic and decomposing nature, fossilised fungi are extremely rare. So rare, in fact, that a new discovery has just pushed back the earliest evidence of fungi by at least 500m years – doubling their age…
The first plants to emerge onto land 500m years ago formed intimate partnerships with fungi. Lacking roots, these early plants relied on their fungal partners to grow inside them and spread outwards into the primordial mineral soil. In a process known as biological weathering, fungal hyphae would secrete organic acids to dissolve rocks and extract nutrients held within. In return, the plants would transfer nutrients produced through photosynthesis to the fungi… It was previously thought that plants made the transition to terrestrial life simultaneously with aquatic fungal partners, but the new discovery opens up the possibility that Earth’s lands may have been already being prepared for successful plant life for hundreds of millions of years. Dissolving mineral-rich rocks and secreting carbon-based organic acids, we know that fungi were extremely important in converting barren lands into the fertile, carbon-rich soils we know today. It could be that the emergence of plant life was only made possible by aeons of groundwork by ancient fungal forefathers. Katie Field, “Complex life may only exist because of millions of years of groundwork by ancient fungi” at The Conversation
The history of life keeps changing on us. Much more stasis, much less Darwin.
See also: Researchers: Recently Found Fungus Pushes Complex Life Back A Half Billion Years
Fungus found that can oxidize gold
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