Molecular clock data indicate that the first zygomycetous fungi occurred on Earth during the Precambrian, however, fossil evidence of these organisms has been slow to accumulate. In this paper, the fossil record of the zygomycetous fungi is compiled, with a focus on structurally preserved Carboniferous and Triassic fossils interpreted as zygosporangium-gametangia complexes and resembling those of modern Endogonales. Enigmatic microfossils from the Precambrian to Cenozoic that have variously been interpreted as, or compared to, zygomycetous fungi are also discussed. Among these, the spherical structures collectively termed ‘sporocarps’ are especially interesting because of their complex investments and abundance in certain Carboniferous and Triassic rocks. Circumstantial evidence suggests that at least some ‘sporocarp’ types represent mantled zygosporangia. Zygomycetous fungi probably were an important element in terrestrial paleoecosystems at least by the Carboniferous.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Endogonales, fossil record, morphology, reproductive biology, sporocarp, zygosporangium-gametangia complex
Journal Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi
Rights

Released under the CC-BY 4.0 ("Attribution") License

Citation
Krings, M, Taylor, T.N, & Dotzler, N. (2013). Fossil evidence of the zygomycetous fungi. Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi, 30(1), 1–10.