Most of us here, related to this website, probably agree that there is a lot of beauty to be found in fungi, but have we really considered how far this beauty might stretch? Fungi have the ability to cure ( i.e. penicillin), they have the ability to enlighten minds, but there is also a theory going around that 420 to 370 million years ago they were the biggest organisms on the planet. Geological dig ups have revealed an unidentified organism named Prototaxites which apparently would tower like skyscrapers above all other life forms; so far it’s been quite the mystery. Scientific speculations have been debated for years and quite some research has been performed in trying to uncover what they might have been. “The tallest trees stood just a few feet high, while the ancient organism boasted trunks up to 24 feet (8 meters) high and as wide as three feet (one meter),” according to National Geographic in 2007*. In the desert of Saudi Arabia there was a recent geological dig up that revealed another Prototaxite fossil. These new findings now seem to confirm it was indeed a fungus.
What makes this anecdote even a little more intriguing is the fact that spores are the only things that can break through the atmosphere without being damaged; they are the only organisms that can survive an interplanetary transition, making it plausiblel for them to be perhaps the first life form on this planet to exist. According to the hypothesis of panspermia (Greek: πανσπερμία from πᾶς/πᾶν (pas/pan) "all" and σπέρμα (sperma) "seed") life is capable of existing throughout the universe and can be distributed through meteoroids, asteroids, comets and so forth.
“In a lecture delivered at Harvard University almost three decades ago, Francis Crick declared that he had become disenchanted with the view that life arose on Earth. Instead, he coined the Theory of Panspermia, which holds that life was sent to Earth from elsewhere in the Universe, and he proposed that the seed of life would have been an extraordinarily resistant spore of the kind produced by Bacillus subtilis and related bacteria. In response, Matthew Meselson pointed out that, if this were so, surely the extraterrestrial civilization would have sent a message in the spore." **
Terence McKenna, a widely respected psychonaut, lecturer, scientist and writer, does not only support this theory but even dares to think further:
“As I understand the Crick theory of panspermia, it's a theory of how life spread through the universe. What I very carefully suggest (…) is that intelligence, not life, but intelligence may have come here in this spore-bearing life form. This is a more radical version of the panspermia theory of Crick. In fact I think that theory will probably be vindicated. I think in a hundred years if people do biology they will think it quite silly that people once thought that spores could not be blown from one star system to another by cosmic radiation pressure. As far as the role of the psilocybin mushroom, or its relationship to us and to intelligence, this is something that we need to consider.” ***
All in all… turns out Super Mario Land couldn't have been more accurate in it’s depiction…
So there you have it, some food for thought. I’d be interested in hearing what Azarians can make up from this.
Here's some background information on