Fungi thrived during mass extinction

Fossil analyses hint that several species made the most of Earth’s largest mass die-off

By Sid Perkins, 14:02 PM October 9, 2009

Microfossils that show up in large quantities in ancient rocks deposited during Earth’s largest mass extinction are fungal spores, not algae as some recent studies had proposed, new research suggests.

About 251 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, life on Earth had its closest call: In a geologically short period of time, a mass extinction claimed more than 95 percent of species in the oceans and 70 percent of those on land (SN: 2/1/97, p. 74). But a few species bucked the e...

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