Ancient Fungal Clues

Ancient Fungal Clues

Ancient fungal clues recently discovered off the coast of South Africa further stretch the boundaries of the theory of evolution. Birger Rasmussen, a geology professor at the Western Australian School of Mines, was drilling at a depth of 2,600 feet for the purpose of dating the ancient submarine lava in the Ongeluk Formation estimated to be 2.4 billion years old in Northern Cape Province of South Africa when he unexpectedly noticed what appeared to be microfilaments (pictured).

“I was startled to find a dense mesh of tangled fossilized microbes,” Rasmussen said in an interview with LiveScience writer Jerry Redfern last month. To Marlowe Hood writing for, Rasmussen recalled that “My attention was drawn to a series of petrified gas bubbles, and when I increased the magnification of the microscope, I was startled.” The bubbles were “filled with hundreds of exquisitely preserved filaments that just screamed ‘life.’” In the words of Science Alert writer Peter Dockrill, “It’s raising some big evolutionary questions.”


To gain a biological perspective, Rasmussen (pictured-right) solicited the help of Stefan Bengtson, (pictured left) a paleobiologist at the Nordic Center for Earth Evolution at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. Bengston told Redfern

“[The fossils] are practically indistinguishable in habitus and habitat from the proven fungi in the much younger fossil record… We were quite excited that the fossils were so fungus-like.”

Helen Briggs, a BBC science writer, in the article “’World’s oldest fungus’ raises evolution questions,” agreed –

“The fossils, drilled from rocks that were once beneath the seafloor, resemble living fungi.”

Redfern’s ancient fungi discovery of what appear to be “living fossils,” a term coined by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species yet disdained by the evolution industry, upends contemporary evolution origin of life theories in many ways – beginning with the issue of dating fossils.


The estimated dating of the fossils pushes the limits of contemporary evolutionary estimates. “Scientists say,” Briggs reports, “the discovery could push back the date for the oldest fungi by one to two billion years.” Changing the origin of a multicellular organism date by two billion years is no small deal, since previous radiometric dating assumptions estimates the age of the Earth without any organisms to be just 4.4 billion years old.

“If the research holds, it would dramatically change “our sense of the timetable of evolutionary history,” explained Andrew H. Knoll (pictured right), Fisher Professor of Natural History at Harvard University in an interview with Redfern.

Rasmussen’s finding is now forcing evolution scientists to rethink the origin of life timeline. “Up until now,” as Dockrill explains, “previous geological evidence for fungi only extended as far back as 385 million years ago, but the fossilized traces of microscopic creatures found in the volcanic rock were a whole 2 billion years older” – not a trivial issue, and with far-reaching implications.

“The finding could reset the spacing of some of the earliest branches on the tree of life,” Dockrill acknowledges. A fungus is a eukaryote organism belonging to the animal and plant kingdoms. At the cellular level, eukaryotes are multicellular with a cell membrane and a nucleus in each cell. Life, though, did not start naturally with eukaryotes.

The current consensus of contemporary evolutionary scientists is that eukaryotes evolved from prokaryotes. Prokaryotes, like eukaryotes, have a cell membrane but lack more complex cellular structures, including a nuclei and mitochondria within the cell.

The evolution of a prokaryote cell to a more complex organism, however, is far from trivial with the evolutionary steps still more speculative than ever. Somehow, according to the University of California, Berkley Understanding Evolution article entitled “From Prokaryotes to Eukaryotes” maintains –

“Eukaryotics…. [are] the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of a free-living bacterium.”

Whatever the evolutionary steps, unknown gaps of time must have elapsed for eukaryotes to evolve from prokaryotes through Darwin’s “slight, successive changes’” With estimates of the origin of prokaryotes at 3.5 billion years ago, eventually, though, re-setting origin of life back by billions of years has consequences.

Skeptical of the re-setting, Doug Erwin (pictured left), curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, in an interview with Redfern pin-pointed a problem:

“[The origin of life] would significantly precede fossil evidence and molecular clock analysis for the origin of eukaryotes, much less the origin of fungi.”

The plot thickens: the seemingly continuous cycle of re-setting the origin of life date to progressively earlier times places the validity of some of the evolution industry’s most popular theories in jeopardy.


In 1952, Nobel prize-winning chemist, Harold Urey, published the book entitled “The Planets: Their Origin and Development.” He speculated that Earth’s early atmosphere was probably like interstellar gases composed of ammonia, methane, and hydrogen—a reducing atmosphere that contains no oxygen. Urey named the natural mechanism of his theory cosmochemistry.

In testing the new theory, Urey’s graduate student, Stanley Miller (pictured right), produced in a laboratory model measurable quantities of simple amino acids – life’s protein building blocks. Now known as the Miller-Urey experiment, the evidence seemed, at least in part, to validate Urey’s cosmochemistry theory.

Oxygen, according to the theory, was eventually produced and released into Earth’s atmosphere through the metabolic activity of a microbe on a massive scale. Through a yet unknown natural phenomenon, a microbe somehow acquired an enzyme to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen driven by light from the sun.

Photosynthesis is the name of this metabolic reaction and is only found in the bacteria known as Cyanobacteria. The massive release of oxygen into the Earth’s atmosphere has been called the Great Oxygen Event.

This prokaryote, according to the theory, produced and released the third most abundant chemical element in the universe by weight and the most abundant chemical element in the Earth’s biosphere, air, sea, and land – no small project for a little prokaryote.

If ancient fungal clues will re-set the dating of the emergence of eukaryotes, Rasmussen explains –

“This would have tremendous implications for the lifestyle of the early ancestors of eukaryotes and fungi.”

Marlowe Hood in the PhysOrg article entitled ”Fossils may be earliest known multicellular life: study,” April 2017, explains the game-changing oxygen problem –

“The new dating meant that not only had these fungus-like creatures lived in a dark and cavernous world devoid of light, but they also lacked oxygen.”

Fungi, including marine fungi, however, must have free oxygen to survive. Unlike plants, since fungi must get their energy from living off of dead plants and other fungi, the lack of oxygen along with the lack of an environment rich in organic material, these uncovered ancient ffungalungal clues invalidate the probability of the estimated time of origin.

Dating Assumptions

Executive director of the National Center for Science Education, Eugenie Scott, explains in the book Evolution vs Creationism the problem with ascribing to assumptions based on assumptions –

“If certain assumptions are made about it [radiometric dating], then, it can yield a date which could be called the apparent age. Whether or not the apparent age is the true age depends completely on the validity of the assumptions.”


The ancient fungal clues challenge the theory in two highly significant ways. Evidence for Darwin’s highly anticipated “slight successive changes” has not been observed even after billions of years.

Once a fungi, always a fungi

The apparent radiometric dating, secondly, is a catch-22 problem: the origin of fungi occurs prior to the evolution industry’s popular Great Oxygen Event theory

Fungi without oxygen = a biological impossibility

Galileo Galilei

An Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician who played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance, Galileo Galilei known as the “father of observational astronomy” and the “father of modern physics declares –

“God is known by nature in his works, and by doctrine in his revealed word.”


Despite a flood of challenges since the publication of The Origin of Species followed by more than 150 years of unprecedented scientific efforts in the history of science to prove otherwise, the evidence in nature is increasingly best explainable by the Genesis record written by Moses.

Evolution, once a theory in crisis, is now in crisis without a unifying theory or reproducible scientific evidence.

Biological evolution exists only as a philosophy, not a science.


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Darwin, Then and Now is a journey through the most amazing story in the history of science - the history of evolution. The book encapsulates who Darwin was, what he said, and what scientists have discovered since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859.

With over 1,000 references, Darwin Then and Now is a historical chronicle of the rise and fall of the once popular theory of biological evolution.