World’s oldest fossil mushroom discovery in Brazil


This video says about itself:

7 June 2017

The world’s oldest fossilized mushroom, dating from 115 million year ago, has been discovered in Brazil and is being called a ‘scientific wonder’. The mushroom fell into a river and began its journey in becoming a fossil at the time when Earth’s supercontinent Gondwana was breaking apart.

It made its way into a highly saline lagoon, sank through the stratified layers of salty water, and was covered in layers of fine sediment, in time becoming a fossil. The world’s oldest fossil mushroom was preserved in limestone, an extraordinarily rare event, researchers say.

From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the USA:

World’s oldest fossil mushroom found

June 7, 2017

Roughly 115 million years ago, when the ancient supercontinent Gondwana was breaking apart, a mushroom fell into a river and began an improbable journey. Its ultimate fate as a mineralized fossil preserved in limestone in northeast Brazil makes it a scientific wonder, scientists report in the journal PLOS ONE.

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 — lots of it — the mushroom was mineralized, its tissues replaced by pyrite (fool’s gold), which later transformed into the mineral goethite, the researchers report.

“Most mushrooms grow and are gone within a few days,” said Illinois Natural History Survey paleontologist Sam Heads, who discovered the mushroom when digitizing a collection of fossils from the Crato Formation of Brazil. “The fact that this mushroom was preserved at all is just astonishing.

“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,” he said.

Before this discovery, the oldest fossil mushrooms found had been preserved in amber, said INHS mycologist Andrew Miller, a co-author of the new report. The next oldest mushroom fossils, found in amber in Southeast Asia, date to about 99 million years ago, he said.

“They were enveloped by a sticky tree resin and preserved as the resin fossilized, forming amber,” Heads said. “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.”

The mushroom was about 5 centimeters (2 inches) tall. Electron microscopy revealed that it had gills under its cap, rather than pores or teeth, structures that release spores and that can aid in identifying species.

Fungi evolved before land plants and are responsible for the transition of plants from an aquatic to a terrestrial environment,” Miller said. “Associations formed between the fungal hyphae and plant roots. The fungi shuttled water and nutrients to the plants, which enabled land plants to adapt to a dry, nutrient-poor soil, and the plants fed sugars to the fungi through photosynthesis. This association still exists today.”

The researchers place the mushroom in the Agaricales order and have named it Gondwanagaricites magnificus.

Dinosaur age fungi discovery


This video says about itself:

23 February 2016

Here are 10 extraordinary fossils that have been found preserved in amber. Amber certainly makes beautiful jewelry, but its clarity and longevity have also proven it to be a great preservation medium. Here are 10 extraordinary fossils that have been found in the solidified resin.

Number 10. Ancient hierarchical civilizations. Thanks to some well-preserved remains, researchers now believe arthropod social structures have been around longer than anyone ever imagined. The encased specimens of ants and termites recently studied date back roughly 100 million years.

Number 9. A possible early version of the bubonic plague. The disease is well known as a Middle Ages mass killer, and its power may have been building since before the dawn of man. Traces of very similar bacteria were found on a 20-million-year-old flea trapped in amber.

Number 8. First carnivorous plant. Dating back some 40 million years, the specimen, which has gooey, insect-trapping tentacles shooting off of its leaves, still contains traces of its last meal. The fossil was found in what is now Russia.

Number 7. 52-million-year-old parasitic beetle. The creature’s prey of choice was ants, and it was somehow able to dupe the hard workers into letting it live in their nest. While there, the beetle would likely eat the ants’ young and exploit their resources.

Number 6. Elusive male stinging scorpion. There are many holes in the history and development of the Miocene scorpion, as very few remains of the ancient ones have been found. Except for this one, a very rare, fully-grown male discovered in Mexico.

Number 5. A daddy long legs with an erect penis. With a 400-million-year history of existence, that the arachnids mate isn’t surprising. However this particular one, estimated to be about 99 million, is the oldest known to have been preserved in such a state.

Number 4. A flower on the verge of being fertilized. Had it not been for the flow of resin that engulfed this bud 100 million or so years ago, the bloom likely would have spread viable seed far and wide. Instead, it was fossilized right as pollen tubes were about to make contact with flower’s stigma.

Number 3. A spider on the brink of an attack. This roughly 110-million-year-old, 8-legged predator missed out on getting a last meal by a sliver of time. The would-be nibble was a wasp that had become ensnared in the web.

Number 2. Dinosaur feathers. Many experts have suggested the prehistoric beasts were covered in them, and this particular piece of amber certainly lends support to the idea. It was discovered in Canada and created some 78 million years ago.

Number 1. Ancient Caribbean lizards. Even though they are 20 million years old, the reptiles inside the golden stones were not found to differ from their contemporary counterparts in any significant way. Scientists attribute the rarity to stable ecological surroundings.

Which amber-encased fossil do you find most fascinating?

From Xinhua news agency in China:

Scientists find earliest intact mushroom fossils

NANJING, March 17 — Paleontologists from China, New Zealand and the United States have found four intact mushroom fossils, sources with the Chinese Academy of Sciences said Friday.

The four, well preserved in Burmese amber for at least 99 million years, are the earliest complete mushroom fossils ever found.

The findings represent four species of mushroom. A stalk and a complete cap containing distinct gills are visible in most of the mushrooms, which are two to three millimeters long.

The research team led by Prof. Huang Diying from Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, reported the finding after researching more than 20,000 pieces of Burmese amber collected over 10 years.

The team also found three kinds of rove beetle, which feed on mushrooms, in pieces of amber 125 million years old. The discovery highlights the palaeo-diversity of mushrooms, pushing back the presence of agaric mushrooms by at least 25 million years.

Mushrooms are common and morphologically diverse fungi. Their bodies are soft and ephemeral and therefore extremely rare in fossils. Until the recent discovery, only five species of mushrooms were known exclusively from amber. Among the previous five species, one was found in a 99-million-year-old piece of damaged Burmese amber, another in a 90-million-year-old piece of New Jersey amber and the three remaining species in 20-million-year-old Dominican amber.

Changing a single letter, or base, in an organism’s genetic code impact its traits. Subtler changes can and do happen: in eukaryotes, one such modification involves adding a methyl group to base 6 of adenine (6mA). Researchers report the prevalence of 6mA modifications in the earliest branches of the fungal kingdom. This little-explored realm provides a repertoire of important and valuable gene products for DOE missions in bioenergy and environment: here.

Red squirrel eats fungi


This 3 February 2017 shows a red squirrel eating fungi growing on a tree. Red squirrels may also hoard fungi for food during winter.

Jangb from the Netherlands made this video.

Birds, fungi in nature reserve


This autumn 2016 video is about Dutch nature reserve Huys te Warmont.

Including birds, like ring-necked parakeet, great spotted woodpecker, short-toed treeceeper and starlings.

And fungi, like bearded tooth mushroom.

Beefsteak polypore, 2017 Fungus of the Year


This video is about the beefsteak polypore.

The Dutch Mycological Society has named the beefsteak polypore (or ox tongue) as its 2017 Fungus of the Year.

This edible fungus lives mainly on English oak and related Quercus trees.

Beautiful birds and fungi in Australia and Slovakia


This 2016 video is called Most beautiful creature video – Wildlife, animals and bird photography. It shows birds, fungi and other wildlife, especially in Australia and Slovakia.

Pet sounds: why birds have much in common with humans. An expert on Australian native species says birds can have empathy, grieve after the death of a partner and form long-term friendships: here.