From National Geographic:
Ancient Meat-Eating Fungus Found Trapped in Amber
for National Geographic News
December 13, 2007
An ancient flesh-eating fungus that preyed on tiny animals has been found preserved inside a hundred-million-year-old lump of amber, scientists report.
This unlikely fossil predator from the dinosaur era may represent the oldest known carnivorous fungus, according to German researchers.
The amber, from a quarry in southwestern France, also contained worms called nematodes, which the fungus snared in sticky loops before devouring them, according to a team led by Alexander Schmidt of the Berlin Museum of Natural History.
Modern-day carnivorous fungi are known to use constricting rings, adhesive knobs, and similar projections to catch prey, but scientists are unsure when such devices evolved.
The new find suggests these micropredators had already developed complex trapping devices by the early Cretaceous period, which began 145 million years ago, the team reports in the latest issue of the journal Science.
The fungus was found in a single piece of amber kept at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France.
See also here.
Glomalean fungi from the Ordovician: here.
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