What are Fungi? The kinds of fungi we eat or try to eradicate from our homes represent only a small number of the species around today. Most fungi do not make their own food, as plants do. Some are parasitic and some form other symbiotic relationships with algae or plants. They are found in soil, on other organisms, in aquatic environments, and they are the principal decomposers of organic material on Earth. Some can grow very large (e.g., mushrooms and puffballs), others are single-celled (yeasts), but most are multicellular. Although fungi are often thought to be too fragile to fossilize or too difficult to identify as fossils, their fossil record goes back to the Precambrian, and they are frequently found in the Lower Devonian Rhynie Chert of Scotland.
First known fossil occurrence: Precambrian.
Last known fossil occurrence: Quaternary. This group has living relatives.
Fossils through time:
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