January 9, 2020

The amber piece with lizard leg and mycomycete (Image courtesy Alexander Schmidt, University of Göttingen and Scientific Reports)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes the discovery of the oldest identified slime mold, attributed to the genus Stemonitis. It’s a fossil mold dating back to about 100 million years ago preserved in excellent conditions within a piece of amber discovered in Myanmar. Jouko Rikkinen, David Grimaldi and Alexander Schmidt examined this fossil, very useful for reconstructing the evolutionary history of these organisms part of the mixomycete (Myxomycota) group, a little known history because of the scarcity of fossils.