Mushroom Kingdom!

Over a century ago, a gigantic fossil was discovered in Saudi Arabia. Gigantic and mysterious, because no one had any idea what exactly it had once been. With a thick trunk, it was similar to petrified trees, but this didn’t resemble any tree ever discovered. Amazingly, a chemical analysis of the fossil in 2007 found the fossil to actually be an immensely tall prehistoric mushroom!

Named Prototaxites, this particular type of shroom has been extinct for at least 350 million years. When its species was more prolific though, it could easily grow over 6 metres in height. These huge fossil fungi have been discovered all over the world, and they date back as far as 420 million years. Back then, our ancestors were still swimming in the oceans. The only animals to have left the ocean were arthropod creatures like giant scorpions. Trees as we know them hadn’t evolved yet. The tallest plants around were only a metre or two tall at most, meaning that these gargantuan mushrooms would have dominated Earth’s landscape.

Just imagine a world where giant scorpions hunt giant millipedes in forests of giant fungi. Once upon a time, this was our planet. And with a few subtle evolutionary changes, it could easily have ended up as a very different place to the world we know today.

And I apologise, but I think including this music is pretty much obligatory!

A nod goes to Reuters as the source for both upper image and story.
The lower image is a screengrab from Morrowind (from somewhere near Vivec if you’re curious).

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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3 Responses to Mushroom Kingdom!

  1. Pingback: [BLOG] Some Monday links « A Bit More Detail

  2. galicolagfb says:

    I think there were giant mushrooms in Vern’s “Journy to the center of the earth”.
    I’ve always been fascinated by these pre-pre-pre-historic giant fauna & flora & funga.

    • invaderxan says:

      Hmmm… I must confess that I’ve never actually read Journey to the Centre of the Earth. I really should sometime. The earliest life on Earth serves as a constant fascination for me. If you’ve never seen it, I’d recommend watching Walking with Monsters

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