About 115 million years ago, when car-size pterosaurs flew overhead and long-necked sauropods tromped about on Earth, a tiny mushroom no taller than a chess piece fell into a river and later fossilized — a feat that makes it the oldest-known fossilized mushroom on record, a new study finds.
Researchers discovered the remains of the Cretaceous-age mushroom preserved in limestone from northeast Brazil's Crato Formation. But during its brief life, the mushroom lived on Gondwana, a supercontinent that once existed in the Southern Hemisphere.
"Most mushrooms grow and are gone within a few days," study lead researcher Sam Heads, a paleontologist at Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), said in a statement. "The fact that this mushroom was preserved at all is just astonishing."
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