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Top Story

Scientists find world’s oldest fossil mushroom

Roughly 115 million years ago, when the ancient supercontinent Gondwana was breaking apart, a mushroom fell into a river and began an improbable journey. Its ultimate fate as a mineralized fossil preserved in limestone in northeast Brazil makes it a scientific wonder, scientists report. The mushroom somehow made its way into a highly saline lagoon, sank through the stratified layers of salty water and was covered in layer upon layer of fine sediments. In time, the mushroom was mineralized, its tissues replaced by pyrite (fool’s gold), which later transformed into the mineral goethite. Before this discovery, the oldest fossil mushrooms found had been preserved in amber.

Visit Website | Image credit: Danielle M. Ruffatto, Prairie Research Institute