About 420 million years ago, the largest objects on Earth were not trees or even animals. In the Paleozoic era, strange organisms dominated the land, which are known in the scientific community as prototaxites.
They looked like elongated cones about 8 meters high, and invertebrate creatures built houses inside them. Judging by the fossilized remains, algae grew on the surface of these mysterious objects.
For many years, scientists could not attribute prototaxites to either trees or animals. But then they found evidence that these are huge mushrooms. In this article, we invite you to learn more about these prehistoric giants.
You will see that several thousand years ago our planet looked like the scenery of science fiction films.
Giant mushrooms of antiquity were considered trees
For the first time, the fossilized remains of prototaxites were found in 1843, during the exploration of coal deposits in the Canadian province of Quebec. For some time, the mysterious objects were kept in the museum, and only in 1859 they were studied by the Scottish botanist John Dawson.
At first, he viewed the remains as the long-term ancestors of conifers. He described these formations as smooth trunks without branches, with individual particles of mushroom mycelium sprouting in them.
For many years the fossils were thought to be rotten wood, but then William Carruthers suggested that prototaxites were ancient algae. After him, Briton Arthur Church (Arthur Church) suggested that scientists are dealing with fungi, but his scientific work was ignored and the scientific community continued to consider prototaxites as aquatic plants.
And only at the beginning of the 21st century, the botanist Francis Hueber convinced everyone that they were dealing with mushrooms. While studying the fossils through a microscope, scientists found thalli in them – the so-called bodies that make up some algae and fungi.
Ancient mushrooms have annual rings
While studying the fossils of giant mushrooms, scientists discovered that stripes are visible on their cut – they look like annual tree rings ( mentioned in this article ), by which you can find out their age.
However, unlike the rings on wood, they are often fused together in prototaxites. It was during their study that scientists discovered long and branching tubular cell structures, almost the same as those of mushroom mycelium. It is impossible to find out the age of ancient mushrooms from these rings.
In ancient times, mushrooms were the size of a house
Based on the fossils, the giant prototaxite mushrooms could stand up to 8 meters tall. At the same time, their average diameter was 1.3 meters. They are often depicted as long, smooth-surfaced cones that grow near water.
This must be how they grew, because scientists have reason to think that prototaxite fungi have something in common with algae.
Huge mushrooms of antiquity may be relatives of algae
There is a hypothesis that prototaxites are not pure fungi – perhaps they are a hybrid of algae and fungi. In 2010, a group of scientists led by Linda Graham suggested that the cone-shaped formations arose as a result of twisting the mycelium of fungi, cyanobacteria and plants under the influence of wind. This is a very interesting hypothesis that may turn out to be true.
Tall mushrooms dominated the Earth
Whatever the giant prototaxites are, in the Paleozoic era they dominated our planet. In those days, plants already existed, but they were no more than half a meter high, covered wet lowlands and did not have a vascular system.
Thus, the giant prototaxites were taller and more powerful than them, thanks to which they spread a branching semblance of mycelium underground and sucked in nutrient organic matter.
Ancient mushrooms gave rise to complex life forms
Scientists believe that if it were not for the giant prototaxites, the current plants and animals would not exist in the world. Over the years, prototaxites have released substances into the environment to soften the soil – it is believed that over time they could even break down rocks.
Thanks to this long, but important process for the history of the Earth, vascular plants arose on our planet. And after that, complex species of organisms appeared on it.
Giant mushrooms disappeared due to plants
However, by helping the plants grow, the ancient mushrooms have dug their own grave. They dominated the Earth for about 70 million years, but then disappeared. One version says that the mushrooms were eaten by animals – they liked them so much that they could not recover.
According to another version, giant mushrooms lost the battle for water, food and space – the plants were stronger than them.
Mushrooms also exist today, but they are not as big as they used to be. But they still play a very important role – some scientists believe that they can save us from many diseases.
Mysterious disappearance of a woman who fell into a well
A very strange case occurred in Mexico when people heard a woman’s
scream coming from a well, but rescuers did not find anyone there. And
now they suspect it was a ghost.
creepiest thing is that the screaming woman was heard both by those who
called the rescuers and by the rescuers themselves. And this woman
answered their questions.
The incident happened a few days ago in
the Mexican city of Saltillo. From a narrow sewer well located on the
territory of a certain colony, a local resident heard women’s screams.
And this happened, as stated, at 3:30 am. This time – 3 am or 3:30 am in the culture of many nations is called the Devil’s Hour.
this man came to the nearest hospital, saying that a woman had fallen
into a well and was asking for help. He said the woman told him her name
of the “Violet” security group, who are constantly on duty at this
hospital, immediately went to the scene of the incident. They reached
the indicated well, the depth of which was 6 meters, and one of them
shouted into the dark depths, asking the name of the victim. Everyone
heard a woman’s voice answer “Juanita” from the depths.
this, the rescuers began to shine their lanterns into the well, but they
could not see the person there. Then they called the fire department
and within a few minutes firefighters arrived with special equipment.
lowered a ladder into the well and one of the firefighters went down on
it, but only discovered that it was completely empty and there were no
signs of human presence.
At the bottom of the well there was only a
narrow channel for water, through which even a child, let alone an
adult, could not crawl.
A subsequent search of the area, including
a nearby sewer, for the alleged victim turned up nothing. The rescuers
left the place in complete bewilderment.
When news of this
incident appeared in the media, local paranormal investigator Roberto
Avila claimed that Juanita was the ghost of a woman who had once died
were told that a person died here several years ago. Perhaps this
person still does not realize that he is no longer in the world of the
living, and his spirit still continues to cry out for help.”
also has a theory that in the well there was a “lower being from the
astral plane” who, with his screams, tried to provoke an accident on the
road that passes nearby.
“The lower entity from the astral plane
sits in a place where black waters pass. In these places, portals
regularly appear, which are gates to other dimensions,” says Avila.
“Cursed charity shop painting ruined my life”, says British woman
A British woman purchased a portrait of a young girl from a charity shop and now asserts that the picture is cursed, reports mirror.co.uk.
Elliot-Brown, aged 36, spotted an artwork by an unfamiliar artist at
the Hastings Advice Representation Center in St Leonards-on-Sea, East
Sussex, a month ago.
Simultaneously, the seller cautioned Zoe
about the painting possibly being cursed, revealing that a prior
purchaser of the same artwork had returned it to the store with the
statement “it ruined my life.”
Out of curiosity, Zoe captured an
image of the painting on her smartphone and shared the photo with her
68-year-old mother, Jane Elliot-Brown. Her mother seemed to be entranced
by the painting.
she began urging Zoe to acquire the painting. Yielding to her mother’s
persuasion, Zoe paid £20 for the artwork. However, as soon as she
introduced it into her home, strange occurrences commenced taking place.
Zoe entered her home and positioned the painting in the living room,
their dog named Cilla leaped up and started growling at the artwork.
Cilla deliberately kept her distance, refraining from approaching the
picture. Subsequently, Zoe’s mother’s health took a sharp decline. She
began experiencing alternating spells of fever and chills, requiring her
to wear four sweaters to keep warm.
Concurrently, Zoe’s mother
seemed to be captivated by the painting. She continuously gazed at it
and even caressed the painted girl’s cheek. During the night, she heard
peculiar knocks emanating from the room where the picture hung, despite
the room being unoccupied.
Zoe managed to persuade her mother that
the painting held negative energy and was cursed. However, Jane
staunchly defended the painting, reluctant to part with it.
never seen my mother yearn for something so intensely. She was
entranced by it, but not in a positive manner. She guarded it. She
frequently gazed at it. She ran her fingers over the painted girl’s
cheeks and polished the surface, although the painting didn’t require
“Each time I mentioned disposing of the painting, she
became exceedingly irritable. It transformed into a sort of family
heirloom for her, something she began cherishing.”
flatly refused to get rid of the painting. I think it’s a bit like the
magic power of the Lord of the Rings ring. It definitely works in an
attractive and charming way, it seems to pull you towards it.
“My mother became a bit like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings,” says Zoe.
herself says that it seems to her that the painted girl is very unhappy
and she stroked her to comfort her. She also does not attribute the
deterioration of her health to the purchase of the painting.
the same time, she admits that there were several cases when someone
seemed to knock on the door, and when she opened it, there was no one on
One day, Jane became so ill that she fainted right
in the bathroom. Zoe called 911, but her mother refused to go to the
hospital and was eventually left at home.
One morning, Zoe entered
the living room and saw her mother standing and stroking the painted
girl on her cheeks. And the mother could not remember how she ended up
in the living room and what she did at night.
was strange behavior, especially for my mom. She couldn’t remember
anything from what happened last night. My mom is still very weird and
distracted and doesn’t want to discuss it.”
And then something
even more frightening happened. Zoe and her friend Ben went for a walk
on a hill during a thunderstorm and suddenly saw a “creepy black figure”
that suddenly appeared in front of them.
They do not know if this
is related to the painting, but they immediately ran back in fear.
Deciding to get rid of the cursed painting, Zoey eventually took it and
took it to the same shop where she bought it.
And when she drove
up to the store, she saw that in one of the tires of the car, brand new,
someone stuck a screw. She gave the painting to the seller, but then
changed her mind and took it back.
didn’t want someone else to buy the painting and get hurt because of
it. Now Zoe wants to give the picture only to someone who understands
Now the painting is kept in Zoya’s house in a box filled with sage (it is believed that sage helps against evil spirits).
She also hung sage in every corner of the house, although Zoya’s mother was very unhappy with this.
thought knowing my luck some idiot will go and get it and try and burn
it and I don’t really want to be left with the remainder of whatever the
hell has been going on. Technically I was the last owner. [I want it]
dealt with properly. […]”
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