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Molecular identification of fungi microfossils in a Neoproterozoic shale rock

DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax7599 DOI Help

Authors: S. Bonneville (Université Libre de Bruxelles) , F. Delpomdor (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) , A. Préat (Université Libre de Bruxelles) , C. Chevalier (Université Libre de Bruxelles) , T. Araki (Diamond Light Source) , M. Kazemian (Diamond Light Source) , A. Steele (Carnegie Institution of Washington) , A. Schreiber (German Research Centre for Geosciences, GFZ) , R. Wirth (German Research Centre for Geosciences, GFZ) , L. G. Benning (German Research Centre for Geosciences, GFZ; Free University of Berlin)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Science Advances , VOL 6

State: Published (Approved)
Published: January 2020
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 15050 , 14953

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Precambrian fossils of fungi are sparse, and the knowledge of their early evolution and the role they played in the colonization of land surface are limited. Here, we report the discovery of fungi fossils in a 810 to 715 million year old dolomitic shale from the Mbuji-Mayi Supergroup, Democratic Republic of Congo. Syngenetically preserved in a transitional, subaerially exposed paleoenvironment, these carbonaceous filaments of ~5 μm in width exhibit low-frequency septation (pseudosepta) and high-angle branching that can form dense interconnected mycelium-like structures. Using an array of microscopic (SEM, TEM, and confocal laser scanning fluorescence microscopy) and spectroscopic techniques (Raman, FTIR, and XANES), we demonstrated the presence of vestigial chitin in these fossil filaments and document the eukaryotic nature of their precursor. Based on those combined evidences, these fossil filaments and mycelium-like structures are identified as remnants of fungal networks and represent the oldest, molecularly identified remains of Fungi.

Subject Areas: Earth Science


Instruments: B22-Multimode InfraRed imaging And Microspectroscopy , I08-Scanning X-ray Microscopy beamline (SXM)

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