Scientists have unearthed fossilized fungi dating back up to one billion years, in a discovery that could reshape our understanding of how life on land evolved, research showed Wednesday.
For decades, the earliest known fungi — organisms such as mushrooms, mould and yeast — was thought to have appeared on earth around half a billion years ago.
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 wa..Read More