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An Old, Giant Fungus Lurking Underground

Scientists who studied and published a paper about a very huge fungus some 25 years ago, have dug deeper and found out that they underestimated its size and age.

Bruhn first came across the absolute unit (Armillaria gallica) in the late 1980s, when he was doing an unrelated experiment in the forest of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He roped in two more fungal experts, James Anderson, now at the University of Toronto, and Myron Smith, now at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, who are also co-principal investigators on the new study.
Now, nearly 30 years later, the scientists' latest experiments reveal the true immensity of A. gallica, Bruhn said.
Here are the fungus' impressive stats: It's at least 2,500 years old (although it's likely much older), weighs nearly 882,000 lbs. (400,000 kilograms) and spans about 75 hectares (0.75 square kilometers, or 140 American football fields).

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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