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