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Researchers Find Well-Preserved Mushroom And Beetles In Burmese Amber

20 March 2017, 9:03 am EDT By Steve Bowman Tech Times
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Researchers have discovered prehistoric mushrooms and rove beetles, which have been preserved splendidly inside a Burmese amber. The discovery presented scientists with a rare opportunity to study the evolution of mushrooms.  ( Aleksey Gnilenkov | Flickr )

Mushrooms or Agaricomycetes are a type of fungal growth, which evolve in the shape of a domed cap on the stalk of a plant, along with gills on the base of the cap.

In an exciting discovery, Mushrooms that have been well preserved for 99 million years have been unearthed along with beetles, which are about 125 million years old. Both were preserved surprisingly well inside an amber, which is a fossilized tree resin.

The Discoveries

A research group, led by Prof. Huang Diying from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology (NIGPAS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, extracted a variety of gilled mushrooms and mycophagous rove beetles from the Burmese amber.

The reported beetles belong to Oxyporinae, whose modern members have a necessary association with soft-textured mushrooms.

Mushrooms are also described as prominent, common, and morphologically varied kind of fungi. Most of the mushrooms are defined as a fruiting body with a short lifespan. This is the reason why very rare fossils of these kinds of fungi are present.

One of the discovered species of mushroom is Palaeoagaracites antiquus, which is about 99 million years old. The other is Archaeomarasmius leggetti, which is nearly 90 million years old.

The remaining groups of the mushroom fossils are from the Miocene Dominican amber, which is about 20 million years old.

What The Researchers Found

The mushrooms have been preserved properly due to them being inside the amber and can be divided into four groups. A stalk along with a cap and gills is visible in most of the amber.

The oldest kind of amber mushroom ever found is a million years older than the newly discovered mushrooms. The newly discovered fossils are a part of the 111,000 discovered fossils from Burma, which are kept in Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology in China.

The findings of the research team portray an old ecological community, which includes varied mushrooms and beetles. The beetles which are preserved have big mandibles, along with big apical labial palpomeres, as well as a particular kind of sensory organ system.

According to the study, the beetles were discovered inside the amber in northeastern China and Burma. The study also shows that these conserved fossils portray the features of modern beetles, as well as the feeding habit of mushrooms.

The researchers were surprised by how well the fossils have been preserved and said they looked similar to present-day mushrooms.

The results of the study were published in the journal Nature.

Photo: Aleksey Gnilenkov | Flickr

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