Just out | Fossil eukaryotes: Fungal origins? @ Nature Ecology & Evolution

Just out @ Nature Ecology & Evolution

Fossil eukaryotes: Fungal origins?


Nicola McLoughlin


“Newly discovered filamentous fossils from 2.4-billion-year-old oceanic lavas suggest that eukaryotes of possible fungal affinity are much older than previously thought.

Palaeontological evidence reported by Bengtson and colleagues from Palaeoproterozoic sub-seafloor lavas of South Africa challenges current thinking about when and where eukaryotes evolved. Intriguing filamentous microfossils are reported from mineralized vesicles in the lavas that form branching networks and are interpreted to be fungal-like, raising the possibility of an early sub-seafloor origin for fungi. Independent of whether these fossils are definitely fungal or not, these findings pose provoking questions about the antiquity of eukaryotes during an interval of time known as the Great Oxidation Event of Earth’s atmosphere approximately 2.4 to 2.2 billion years ago (Ga).

In recent years, scientists have made significant advances in exploration of the deep sub-seafloor uncovering a vast microbial biosphere. We now appreciate that fluid–rock interaction in the oceanic crust supports diverse microbial communities that include heterotrophic organisms such as fungi. A combination of microbiological data, textural and geochemical evidence demonstrates a thriving sub-seafloor biosphere. Filamentous microtextures found in mineralized cavities and fractures within seafloor lavas, as well as microscopic tunnels found in volcanic glass, have been interpreted as representing the fossilized remains of endolithic microorganisms.” READ MORE

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READ IT HERE:  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0147

Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)