Scientists Now Discovered World’s Oldest Mushrooms In Brazil

There is always something that is present beyond the hands of human beings, sometimes we deliberately end up unnoticing the things around us, sometimes we simply conclude the subject at a certain point when it appears out of context or our eye.

Following the discovery of the extinct assumed ‘robber frog‘, scientists now has come up with something interesting, the world’s oldest fossil mushroom which dates back to about 115 million years and is discovered in Brazil, according to researchers who hailed the finding as a “scientific wonder” in the field of Biology.

Researchers named the mushroom as Gondwanagaricites as it belongs to the Agaricales order. With five centimeters height and gills under its cap, rather than pores or teeth, structures that release spores and that can aid in identifying species.

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Sam Heads, a professor from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign discovered the mushroom when digitizing a collection of fossils from the Crato Formation of Brazil. When asked about this new species, he was quoted saying,

“Most mushrooms grow and are gone within a few days, the fact that this mushroom was preserved at all is just astonishing.”

Around 115 million years ago, when the ancient super- continent Gondwana was breaking apart, the mushroom fell into a river and began an improbable journey, its ultimate fate as a mineralised fossil preserved in limestone in northeast Brazil makes it a scientific wonder, the researchers said.

The mushroom somehow made its way into a highly saline lagoon, sank through the stratified layers of salty water and was covered in layer upon layer of fine sediments, in time, the mushroom was mineralised, its tissues replaced by mineral pyrite, which later transformed into the mineral goethite, the researchers added.

“When you think about it, the chances of this thing being here – the hurdles it had to overcome to get from where it was growing into the lagoon, be mineralized and preserved for 115 million years – have to be minuscule,” said Heads.

Meanwhile, Andrew Miller, a co-author of the report published in the journal PLOS ONE has said that “Before this discovery, the oldest fossil mushrooms found had been preserved in amber, the next oldest mushroom fossils, found in amber in Southeast Asia, date to about 99 million years ago.”

“They were enveloped by a sticky tree resin and preserved as the resin fossilized, forming amber, this is a much more likely scenario for the preservation of a mushroom since resin falling from a tree directly onto the forest floor could readily preserve specimens. This certainly seems to have been the case, given the mushroom fossil record to date,” Heads concluded.

It was Fungi that evolved before land plants and are responsible for the transition of plants from an aquatic to a terrestrial environment, Miller added, further.

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