World’s Oldest Fungus Fossil Found

The creation of fossils is easier when there is a definite shape for the rocks to embed. Fossils of large animals with bones that take a long time to disintegrate are much easier to form, and easier to find by archaeologists as well. Fungus on the other hand is not that easy to fossilize. That’s why when micro fossils of a globular spore connected to a T-shaped filament were found in the Arctic region, it was a rare and celebrated find.

The researchers in northwestern Canada found the fungus fossil which sheds light on the origins of one of the important branches of the tree of life on Earth. The multi-cellular fungus in the fossil has been named Ourasphaira giraldae. It is supposed to have lived in an estuary environment over a billion years ago. This makes it the oldest fungus fossil found to date.

The Ourasphaira giraldae is an ancestor for many diverse forms of fungus and mold that exist today. Everything from different forms of mushrooms to yeast used in baking has descended from this multi-cellular fungus. The more scientific studies can determine about the past, the better equipped we become to handle our future.

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