Cord‐forming Palaeozoic fungi in terrestrial assemblages

Cord‐forming Palaeozoic fungi in terrestrial assemblages The fossil record paints a thin picture of early terrestrial life. Useful diagnostic features are rare in the organic‐walled fossils of the first land colonizers, and at first glance the Silurian–Devonian Tortotubus protuberans seems no exception. Now, new material from New York, Gotland and Scotland reveals the ontogenesis and affinity of this problematic organism. Its filamentous early stages (previously referred to Ornatifilum lornensis) demonstrate simple septal perforations and a bilayered cell wall; threads of entwined filaments, bounded by an elaborately sculptured surface, arose via the retrograde growth and subsequent proliferation of secondary branches. This morphology and pattern of growth together indicate an affinity with the ‘higher’ fungi (Dikarya) and document the formation of differentiated mycelium. The presence of complex mycelial fossils in the earliest Silurian corroborates the likely contribution of fungi to the colonization of land and the establishment of modern sedimentological systems; their rise seemingly accompanied the diversification of early embryophytes and the vegetation of the terrestrial biosphere. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society Oxford University Press

Cord‐forming Palaeozoic fungi in terrestrial assemblages

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 The Linnean Society of London
ISSN
0024-4074
eISSN
1095-8339
DOI
10.1111/boj.12389
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The fossil record paints a thin picture of early terrestrial life. Useful diagnostic features are rare in the organic‐walled fossils of the first land colonizers, and at first glance the Silurian–Devonian Tortotubus protuberans seems no exception. Now, new material from New York, Gotland and Scotland reveals the ontogenesis and affinity of this problematic organism. Its filamentous early stages (previously referred to Ornatifilum lornensis) demonstrate simple septal perforations and a bilayered cell wall; threads of entwined filaments, bounded by an elaborately sculptured surface, arose via the retrograde growth and subsequent proliferation of secondary branches. This morphology and pattern of growth together indicate an affinity with the ‘higher’ fungi (Dikarya) and document the formation of differentiated mycelium. The presence of complex mycelial fossils in the earliest Silurian corroborates the likely contribution of fungi to the colonization of land and the establishment of modern sedimentological systems; their rise seemingly accompanied the diversification of early embryophytes and the vegetation of the terrestrial biosphere.

Journal

Botanical Journal of the Linnean SocietyOxford University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2016

Keywords: ; ; ; ; ; ;

References

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