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Roughly 115 million years ago, when the ancient supercontinent Gondwana was breaking apart, a mushroom fell into a river and began an improbable journey. Its ultimate fate as a mineralized fossil preserved in limestone in northeast Brazil makes it a scientific wonder, scientists report in the journal PLOS ONE.
The mushroom somehow made its way into a highly saline lagoon, sank through the stratified layers of salty water and was covered in layer upon layer of fine sediments. In time - lots of it - the mushroom was mineralized, its tissues replaced by pyrite (fool's gold), which later transformed into the mineral goethite, the researchers report
The next oldest mushroom fossils, found in amber in Southeast Asia, date to about 99 million years ago, he said.