Fungi and its fragmentary fossil history

Bill Purves purves at THUBAN.AC.HMC.EDU
Mon Nov 15 05:29:11 EST 1999

Colleen Feucht inquired:

>I have a question about the history of fungi.  Scientists today believe 
>fungi are more closely related to animals than they are to plants.  
>Characteristics of this group seperate it into it's own kingdom.  Is it 
>possible that fungi are the first animals to evolve on our planet?  Does 
>anyone have any thoughts on this subject?
>Coleen Feucht

It would be incorrect to say that fungi are/were the first animals.
The fungi are sister to the animals.  Both kingdoms are monophyletic.
No fungus was an animal, and no animal was a fungus.

However, the fungi and animals share an ancestor that was NOT ancestral
to plants.  I hope this is of some use, Colleen.


William K. Purves      Vice President/Editorial Director
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