It looks almost like a mushroom, but would not be edible, because it is fossilized: Gondwanagaricites magnificus is the oldest large mushroom, the scientists know. He belongs to the order mushroom-type (agaricales) and lived 115 million years ago. Discovered by Sam Heads and Andrew Miller of the University of Illinois and published in the journal "Plos One" . They found the five-centimeter large fossilized cones in the limestone of the Crato Formation in northeastern Brazil. It consists of the mineral goethite (needle iron ore). The lamellae are clearly visible under the hat of the fear body, and the stalk is well preserved.
Before this discovery, a mushroom hat from Southeast Asia was the record holder. He is preserved in amber and 99 million years old.
What is colloquially referred to as mushrooms, are actually only the fruiting bodies of organisms that consist of a fine mesh that can grow through many materials. In the representatives of the mushrooms, the fruiting bodies, in contrast to those of the other groups of fungi, are clearly visible to the naked eye. While the evolutionary history of fungi generally began very early, large mushrooms developed relatively late.
"Mushrooms have developed in front of the land plants and made their transition from water to land possible, " says Miller. "It was symbiotic connections between mushroom hyphae and plant roots for reciprocal food supply crucial, there is still today." Display
Photo: Jared Thomas© science.de - Rüdiger Vaas