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400-Million-Year-Old Mystery: Giant Tree-like Object in Epoch Before Trees Existed

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posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 10:06 PM

Quote from source:
The giant fossil Prototaxites is a big 400-million year old mystery. The fossils resemble tree trunks, and yet they are from a time before trees existed. The stable carbon isotope values are similar to those of fungi, but the fossils do not display structures usually found in fungi. Hence, the enigma.

Prototaxites have sparked controversy for more than a century. Originally classified as a conifer, scientists later argued that it was instead a lichen, various types of algae or a fungus. Whatever it was, it stood in tree-like trunks more than 20 feet tall, making it the largest-known organism on land in its day.

“No matter what argument you put forth, people say, well, that’s crazy. That doesn’t make any sense,” said C. Kevin Boyce, Assistant Professor in Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. “A 20-foot-tall fungus doesn’t make any sense. Neither does a 20-foot-tall algae make any sense, but here’s the fossil.”

Plant-like polymers have been found in the fossils, but nutritional evidence supports heterotrophy, which is not commonly found in plants. These are a few of the confounding factors surrounding the identification of Prototaxites fossils.

Prototaxites existed during the Late Silurian to Late Devonian periods-- approximately 420-370 million years ago (ma). Prototaxites fossils have a consistent tubular anatomy, composed of primarily unbranched, non-septate tubes, arranged in concentric or eccentric rings, giving the fossils an appearance similar to that of a cross-section of a tree trunk. The fossil "trunks" vary in size and may be up to 8.8 m long and 1.37 m in diameter, making Prototaxites the largest organism on land during the Late Siluarian and Devonian periods.

I thought I would post this as this is quite interesting. Interesting to even see it thought of as a tree, and not trying to be explained away as something else...

Any thoughts?


posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 10:15 PM
reply to post by predator0187

Really cool find! S+F. I am wondering what they could find by digging into the layers of it. Not unlike what is done with core samples from the ocean or glaciers.

posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 11:07 PM
Great thread. I hadn't heard of this before so any time I learn something new it's a good day. Thanks Op!

Perhaps these guys were the forefathers of coral?



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 11:11 PM
I read something about these. Aren't they supposed to be algal mats which have somehow been rolled up and then fossilised? I imagine that a thin layer of algae on the surface of a pond or something could sometimes be rolled up by the wind. A possibility anyway.

posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 11:20 PM
Star and flag for bringing me new things to think about.

Always fun. what are they?

Flying polyp from H. P. Lovecraft's "The Shadow out of Time"?

posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 11:23 PM
Well, once again, this is just another example of how little we know about the history of the earth or humanity. We're not as bright as we think.
Star and flag for this find.

posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 11:23 PM

Their hypothesis is that Prototaxites fossils may be composed of partially degraded wind-, gravity-, or water-rolled mats of liverworts that are associated with fungi and cyanobacteria

Liverwort is a non vascular plant that does not make seeds.

The name "liverwort" derives from the Anglo-Saxon word "lifer, meaning liver and "wyrt", the Anglo-Saxon word for plant. During the 16th century, it was commonly applied to the genus Marchantia, a flat, branching, ribbon-shaped plant the margins of which were claimed to resemble the lobes of a liver

See more at link:

In the photo in the article linked in the OP, it's possible to see a little of the cross-section of the fossils ... similar to a cross-section of pomegranites, imo

The article suggests that what appear to be fossilised tree trunks may have been formed by rolling action on a large mass of liverwort-type vegetation by wind, water or gravity, similar I suppose to tumbleweed

Thank you, OP. Very interesting


[edit on 16-2-2010 by Dock9]

posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 11:58 PM
Oh cool, so now we've found the great old ones! Sweet! Anyone want to go explore that mountain range that shouldn't exist in Antarctica?

So wierd.

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 12:28 AM
reply to post by Mr Headshot

Oh cool, so now we've found the great old ones! Sweet! Anyone want to go explore that mountain range that shouldn't exist in Antarctica?

Please elaborate ?

Absolute amazing thread IMO S&F

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 01:54 AM
Ok...He who is without sin can cast the first stone - but the earth/tree isn't even 400Million years old...and this fossil...could be any tree that was just washed over with flood water about 4400 years ago in the flood. This is bad

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 01:58 AM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

Someone above me mentioned H.P. Lovecraft, that's what my mind went to first as well. The great old ones were a race of beings who were more plant than animal. They were here long long long before us, in fact they created us. Keep in mind this is waaaay before Daniken or Stichin.

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 02:05 AM
This was first discovered in 1859, the photograph was taken by Franz Hoover. The photo was taken in the 1950s in Saudi Arabia. 420 million years ago, this organism existed, and it was called Prototaxites.

Prototaxites LAYING DOWN was about 3ft tall. The tallest plants on earth at that time were less than 2ft tall. Dr. Boyce at the University of Chicago published an article in the Journal of Geology this past year determining that Prototaxites was a giant fungus. A giant mushroom.

Across the landscapes of earth were dotted these giant mushrooms all across most land masses and these existed for tens of millions of years.

Now we've had several extinction events, and most of you know around 65 million years ago this planet experienced an asteroid impact. A huge amount of debris filled the atmosphere, sunlight was cut off, and fungi inherited the earth.

Those organisms that paired with fungi were rewarded because fungi does not need light. More recently at Einstein University they just determined that fungi use radiation as a source of food or energy, as compared to how plants use light.

So the possibility of fungi existing on other planets, I think, is an obvious conclusion. At least in my own mind.

I have personally devoted many hours of my time researching mycelium, fungi, and mushrooms, up until the point where I self proclaimed myself an amateur mycologist.

I have also come to the conclusion that fungi is the single most crucial organism to maintaining a healthy planet.

Besides the fact that mycelium is literally natures "internet" connecting every living plant and organism that it stretches out to touch in a synchronized network of nutrition distribution, it has been proven to increase ESP or psychic abilities in humans substantially.

Imagine the possibilities of resource production if we were to create a forest of industrial hemp which was connected in a network of mycelium.

Here are a few very interesting videos about this subject:

Part (1/3) of 1961 scientific experiments proving psilocybin mushrooms increase ESP levels:

And Paul Stamets, a senior mycologist, at a TED conference during a lecture on the possibilities of mycology and how it could very potentially save our earth:

[edit on 17-2-2010 by Mayan_Soul]

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 02:08 AM
reply to post by predator0187

I can't even make heads or tails from that thing.

Where it's 3D representation?
Better yet, where is a flaura fauna graphical representation of a Silurian period 400 mil. years ago so we can check out how it would stand out from the rest of ...stuff, that existed then.

I don't want to act like a know it all smart guy, just because I am not one, I'm in the dark with these ..things just like the average Joe around here.

[edit on 17-2-2010 by spacebot]

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 02:24 AM
Furthermore, I have noticed a quote from the Bible that in my eyes is blatantly referring to Psilocybin Mushrooms.

Ezekiel 4:15-17 (King James Version)

15 Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.

16 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment:

17 That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.

Lets take a look at this.

He says, "I have given thee cow's dung". What is very well known to grow on cow dung? Fungi. Especially "magic" fungi. He then continues to say "thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith." I am completely convinced that in this verse, "bread", was the word used for "mushroom". Then he says "I will break the staff of bread"... What does a staff look like? a pole sticking up out of the ground? Well is that not similar to mushrooms, which could very easily resemble a staff? Then he says "thou shall eat bread by weight"... And yes, when you eat magic mushrooms, you have to weigh out your dose which is usually around a few grams when dried.

It keeps going to say they drink water with astonishment, and believe me, when enduring this experience, you do discover the true definition of astonishment.

Then it goes to say they enjoy or want the mushrooms, and are astonished by one another, and keep consuming them to decay their sins or wrongdoings, or even indoctrinations.

So, if my assumptions are correct, my question is then:

What is the significance of this observation when added to the relevant information of this post?

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 02:29 AM

Ok this definitely doesn't make any sense, shouldn't been there, unless the infinite wisdom blah blah blah, put it there.. or it is/was Bio-engineered but not from us since we didn't exist yet, to begin with.
What is it supposed to be doing there? Changing the atmosphere substance for some odd reason?
Changing the environment vs changing yourself, the second option always wins.

[edit on 17-2-2010 by spacebot]

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 02:32 AM
reply to post by Mayan_Soul

I love Paul Stamets lecture on TED, plus I bought one of his #aki Mushroom starter kits and it worked, plus I am still making more every flush.

I too believe from research and reading Pauls Books that it was a Giant mushroom or fungus much like the one is this NGC Science Presentation

NGC Presentation

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 03:03 AM
There is an amazing ats thread

Posted by IvanZana 2-1-2008 that shows how the earth expanded and somehow got larger. Apparently the idea of a conveyor belt tectonic plates is incorrect, that there actually wasn't any or much subduction just an expanding earth in which the continents once continuous cracked apart and spread out with the basalt filling in.IMHO some impact added mass to the earth somehow without pulverizing it which is why the dinasaurs could be so big. Even mammoths are big for present conditions.although that was only about 5 million years ago and the dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago.
But how that ties into this thread is that those mushroom/fungi organisms might not have required the same weight bearing structure of our modern trees if gravity were less 400 million years

[edit on 17-2-2010 by m khan]

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 03:28 AM
reply to post by ImperialMaj

That is the funniest thing I've read this year.

You're bagging a scientific article as being Bad Science while espousing god-speak as the reason.

Classic, pure gold...

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 03:39 AM
pretty interesting and weird.

posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 03:54 AM
reply to post by m khan

Indeed. Not the same gravity requirements but nature always chooses the path of less resistance. I do not see other fungi or trees or anything blocking the view of those "big fungus" and stealing their airborn food or whatever, hence no competition. No reason for them to be so tall. They just sit there by themselves, in an almost barren landscape, supposedly. Just taking space but they could do this, evolving horizontally couldn't they? Safer and more reliable. Else nature had gone crazy back then.

[edit on 17-2-2010 by spacebot]

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