PARIS May 23 – Scientists have excavated fossilized fungi that last up to a billion years, in a discovery that could transform our understanding of how life on land evolved, yesterday's research showed.
For decades, the earliest known fungi ̵
However, recent fossil samples excavated in Canada and analyzed using the latest dating technology seem to push back fungus arrival at the earliest onshore landmarks. 19659005] Corentin Loron, PhD student from the University of Liège, Belgium, and colleagues examined the microfossils to determine their chemical composition.
They found the presence of chitin – a fibrous substance formed on fungal cell walls – and examined the age of the rock the fossils were found by the ratio of radioactive elements.
The concluded microfossils were between 900 million and one billion years old.
Loron said the finding was significant because fungi are part of the same umbrella group of organisms – known as eukaryotes – as plants and animals.
"This means that if mushrooms already exist about 900-1000 million years ago, it should also have been expensive," he told AFP.
"This transforms our vision of the world because these groups are still present today. Therefore, even though it is very different from today, this distant past may have been much more" modern "than we thought."  Fungi remain one of the world's most extensive organisms and are the third largest contributor to global biomass for plants and bacteria.
It is six times heavier than the mass of all animals combined – including humans.
The study was published in the journal Nature . – AFP