- Recently,Scientists have discovered the Oldest-known fossils of a fungus named Ourasphaira giraldae in an Arctic region of northwestern Canada.
- The ancient fungus is the ancestor of today’s mushrooms, yeasts and molds and lived in at the mouth of a river mouth of a river between 890 million and 1.1 billion years ago.
- The microscopic fossils of ancient fungus dates back to the Proterozoic era before the advent of complex life forms and thus represent the oldest-known fungus.Until now,the oldest-known fungus fossil was one about 410 million years old from Scotland.
- Scientists have said that Fungi are the closest relatives to animals in the ‘tree of life’.This means that,if fungi were already present around 1 billion years ago,animals also were present.
- Fungi play a crucial role in ecosystems decomposing organic matter and returning nutrients to the ground to help plants grow.The existence of fungi a billion years ago suggests that the organisms laid the groundwork for the first plants to colonise the land about 470 million years ago.
- Further,Fungi belong to a broad group of organisms called eukaryotes that possesses a clearly defined nucleus and also includes animals and plants.A fundamental difference between fungi and plants is that fungi are incapable of photosynthesis harnessing sunlight to synthesize nutrients.
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