B. van Geel
- Fungi of the colon of the Yukagir Mammoth and from stratigraphically related permafrost samples
- Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology
- Volume | Issue number
- 141 | 1-2
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Fungal remains from the contents of the colon of the Yukagir Mammoth, and from two other dung samples, preserved in permafrost in the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, and dated ca 18,560 BP, were recorded, illustrated and interpreted. Three identifiable Ascomycetes species were found on plant remains inside the intestinal tract of the mammoth, viz. Lophiostoma corticolum, Pleospora herbarum and Pseudohalonectria lignicola. Dung-inhabiting Ascomycetes were common in one of the dung samples found next to the mammoth body. The composition of the Ascomycete flora suggests that this piece of dung must have been exposed at least 1-2 weeks before fossilisation. The relatively high temperature during the passage of the intestinal tract is essential for the subsequent germination of ascospores of coprophilous fungi in droppings. Fungi may have played an important role in the process of nutrient cycling in the mammoth steppe.
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