Lichen-Like Symbiosis 600 Million Years Ago

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Science  13 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5724, pp. 1017-1020
DOI: 10.1126/science.1111347

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The fossil record of fungi and lichens is scarce. Here we report the discovery of lichen-like fossils, involving filamentous hyphae closely associated with coccoidal cyanobacteria or algae, preserved in marine phosphorite of the Doushantuo Formation (between 551 and 635 million years old) at Weng'an, South China. These fossils indicate that fungi developed symbiotic partnerships with photoautotrophs before the evolution of vascular plants.

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