Mysterious ‘dark fungi’ taking over as people convinced it’s from another world

By Staff

Scientists say fungi lurks all around us – whether it’s plaguing your mouldy bread, or thriving at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. It’s left people utterly baffled

Fungi taking over the world may sound like the plot of a horror movie.

Yet, according to scientists, this has already happened. Fungi doesn’t just plague your mouldy bread, but lurks all around us – from the deepest ocean trenches, to the towering Mount Everest.

One especially elusive subset of the species, dubbed as ‘dark fungi’, have been largely overlooked until recently, as thousands are completely invisible to the naked eye. But experts say they shouldn’t be underestimated – believing they exert a powerful yet mysterious influence on global ecosystems, according to the Scientific American.

Their impact is often compared to the similarly enigmatic dark energy that theoretically makes up 70% of our universe and continues to drive its expansion – a significant function that mystifies researchers even now.

In 2023, a spokesperson at the University of Gothenburg explained: “The concept of dark biodiversity denotes species that are recovered through DNA sequencing of substrates such as soil and water – but where no individuals of those species have ever been observed.

“It has been known for more than a decade the fungal kingdom is home to dark biodiversity, but the magnitude of this dark fungal diversity has been the subject of much speculation.”

Last year, the Swedish university published research which showed our fungal kingdom may be ‘almost exclusively dark’. As part of this, scientists uncovered 300,000 dark fungi among half a million different species.

They believe it suggests our understanding of the world is severely limited, potentially rendering previous geological and climate studies unreliable.

Biologist Henrik Nilsson explained: “For instance, how do the dark fungi obtain their energy and nutrients? What ecological processes and associations do they partake in?

“Right now, these are not factored into our geo-ecological models for flow of mass and energy in ecosystems, that’s for sure. As long as the dark fungi are swept under the carpet, we cannot hope to do a good job with any of our models.”

Unsurprisingly, these bizarre findings have also triggered quite the reaction online too, with various people taking to Reddit to voice their views. One person joked: “I, for one, welcome our fungal overlords,” as others chimed in: “I wanna see a duel with Darth Fungus,” and: “As a dark fun guy, I can confirm this.”

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