Potteromyces asteroxylicola

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

About Potteromyces asteroxylicola

  • It was found infecting the ancient plant Asteroxylon mackiei, showcasing a predator-prey interaction that occurred while the plant was alive.
  • The unique reproductive structures of Potteromyces, known as conidiophores, stood out with their unusual shape and formation, leading to its designation as a new species.
  • Its reproductive structures, known as conidiophores, had an unusual shape and formation.
  • Rhynie Chert site in Scotland is known for its well-preserved Early Devonian communities of plants and animals, including fungi and bacteria. 

What is Devonian Period?

  • It spans between about 419.2 million and 358.9 million years ago.
  • It is sometimes called the “Age of Fishes” because of the diverse, abundant and in some cases, bizarre types of these creatures that swam Devonian seas.
  • Forests and the coiled shell-bearing marine organisms known as ammonites first appeared early in the Devonian.
  • Late in the period the first four-legged amphibians appeared, indicating the colonization of land by vertebrates.
  • During the Devonian, there were three major continental masses: North America and Europe sat together near the equator, with much of their current area covered by shallow seas. To the north lay a portion of modern Siberia. A composite continent of South America, Africa, Antarctica, India, and Australia dominated the southern hemisphere.

Q1) Where do fungi grow?

Fungi grow in a wide variety of environments around the globe. Most fungi are terrestrial and are found in all temperate and tropical areas. A few species live in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, usually as part of lichens. Soil rich in organic matter is an ideal habitat for many species, and only a small number of fungi are found in drier areas or in habitats with little or no organic matter. 

Source: 407-million year-old disease-causing fungus unveiled at Natural History Museum