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Potteromyces Asteroxylicola: Ancient Plant-Fungus Interaction

Context:

Researchers discover a 407-million-year-old fungus fossil, Potteromyces asteroxylicola in the Rhynie Chert, marking the oldest evidence of fungi causing diseases.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

Potteromyces asteroxylicola: Unveiling Ancient Plant-Fungus Interaction

Discovery and Host:

  • Potteromyces asteroxylicola is a newly identified fungus found infecting the ancient plant Asteroxylon mackiei.
  • The discovery showcases a predator-prey interaction between the fungus and the living plant during its ancient existence.

Reproductive Structures:

  • The fungus’s reproductive structures, known as conidiophores, stood out due to their unique shape and formation.
  • This distinctive feature led to the classification of Potteromyces asteroxylicola as a new species.

Rhynie Chert Site:

  • The discovery took place at the Rhynie Chert site in Scotland, renowned for preserving Early Devonian communities, including plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria.

Devonian Period:

  • The Devonian Period spanned approximately 2 million to 358.9 million years ago.
  • It is often referred to as the “Age of Fishes” due to the diversity and abundance of fish species in Devonian seas.
  • Significant events in this period include the appearance of forests, coiled shell-bearing marine organisms (ammonites), and the emergence of the first four-legged amphibians, indicating the colonization of land by vertebrates.
  • Three major continental masses, including North America, Europe, and a composite continent in the southern hemisphere, characterized the Devonian landscape.

-Source: The Times of India


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