Fungi were thought to have appeared about half a billion years ago but…
But recent fossil specimens unearthed in Canada and analysed using the latest dating technology appear to push back fungi’s arrival to the earliest reaches of life on land.
Corentin Loron, a PhD student from the University of Liege, Belgium, and colleagues examined the microfossils to determine the chemical composition of their cells.
They found the presence of chitin—a fibrous substance that forms on fungal cell walls—and examined the age of the rock the fossils were found in by its ratio of radioactive elements.
They concluded the microfossils were between 900 million and one billion years old.
Loron said the finding was significant because in the “tree of life”, fungi are part of the same umbrella group of organisms—known as Eukaryotes—as plants and animals.
“This means that if fungi are already present around 900-1000 million years ago, so should animals have been,” he told AFP. “One billion year old fungi found is Earth’s oldest” at Phys.org
If so, not nearly as much time from the Big Bang onward for all that complexity to just sort of slosh into existence…
Note: We are told that fungi make up about six times the biomass of all animals. It seems there are many fungus among us.
See also: Talk about stasis! Bedbugs are 100 million years old!
Amber—a moment in time 100 mya: Life forms trapped in amber—hardened resin from conifers—can show remarkable examples of stasis: No real change from one ten-million-year span to the next one.
Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen
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