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Palaeontology

Mystery of the 400-million-year-old "trees"

February 18, 2010 | Comment icon 8 comments



Image Credit: sxc.hu
Mystery has long surrounded giant fossils known as protoaxites that resemble tree trunks but are from before trees existed.
For over one hundred years controversy has surrounded these peculiar prehistoric enigmas, exactly what were these tree-like formations of the ancient world and how did they form ?
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.


Source: Daily Galaxy | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by ShadowSot 12 years ago
Well, it isn't a tree so the title's a bit off. No worries, just a stickler of mine. I remember reading about it the other night, in a book I have. Fellow who found it initially thought it was a rotting log that was fossilized.
Comment icon #2 Posted by thefinalfrontier 12 years ago
ya the title is a bit off isnt it, Oh well, Could you imagine the thing being a fugi growing to such a size? Just would seem to me that such a fungi would collapse under its own wieght or maybe it did,
Comment icon #3 Posted by Eldorado 12 years ago
Thank you, TFF........was very interesting. Fungus from between the toes of the Anunnaki? Could beeeee! http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/070423_mystery_fungus.html
Comment icon #4 Posted by thefinalfrontier 12 years ago
well at least livescience got the title right anyways, Thanks for the link Regards; TFF
Comment icon #5 Posted by Eldorado 12 years ago
Tis hard for me to comprehend something being 400 million yrs old..........awesome. Would love to have seen it in all it's glory.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Leonardo 12 years ago
The LiveScience article is slightly off. Prototaxis did not "stand 20 feet high", the liverwort mats of which the Prototaxis fossils are remnants of were wind or gravity rolled into trunk-like shapes 20 feet or so long on the ground. This is explained in the Daily Galaxy article in the OP.
Comment icon #7 Posted by thefinalfrontier 12 years ago
The LiveScience article is slightly off. Prototaxis did not "stand 20 feet high", the liverwort mats of which the Prototaxis fossils are remnants of were wind or gravity rolled into trunk-like shapes 20 feet or so long on the ground. This is explained in the Daily Galaxy article in the OP. Thank you for that Leonardo, I dont know anything about this type of findings, The article though I did find interesting Regards; TFF
Comment icon #8 Posted by Paracelse 12 years ago
20 feet tall mushrooms and no eggs for the ultimate mushroom omelet.. what a waste (


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