Belgian Scientists have discovered the remains of the oldest mushroom in a collection piece from the Africa Museum in Tervuren.
The fossilised remains – 715 to 810 million years old – were found in a rock in the collection by scientists from the French-speaking university ULB.
This research casts new light on when mushrooms first became present on earth, as previous findings had placed the oldest mushroom at ‘only’ 460 million years old.
The fossil, however, does not look at all like a mushroom, more resembling the roots of a plant or tree, according to reports. The results suggest that fungi helped create the first plants on Earth 500 million years ago.
“This is an important discovery, which invites us to review the chronology of the evolution of organisms on earth,” concludes research leader Steeve Bonneville, who published his study in the scientific magazine Science Advances.
There may be still many older mushrooms, as scientists have only discovered about 120,000 species of an estimated 3.8 million.
Source: Jules Johnston of The Brussels Times