"A long time ago, back before the dinosaurs were even a twinkle in a primitive reptile's eye and before that reptile's ancestor was even a twinkle in a primitive amphibian's eye, before plants thought seeds were a neat idea and invertebrates were disquietingly large, terrestrial life found itself with a bit of a problem."
The more I learn about fungi, the more fascinated I am. Lots of amazingly specialized ones out there, from mycorrhizal fungi to ones that turn ants into zombie slaves, to mushrooms that capture and parasitize beetle and moth larvae. Plus, pretty much every tree and shrub in the woods is interconnected by a network of mycorrhiza that lets them share nutrients and water. The Woods-Wide Web, some call it.
Good writing, but I don't like the bias of the writer, who claimed that lack of atmospheric CO2 caused an ice age. A more sustainable theory is that solar variation, a centuries long reduction of about 0.03% (or less) of the sun's total average output, was the proximate (and perhaps sole) cause of that (and most other) ice ages.
The CO2 argument, claiming that CO2 is an effective and determinate factor in global temperatures, is the cornerstone of the Anthropogenic Global Warming hysteria. Fortunately for all of us, the AGW craze has resulted in some (generally ignored by media) real science that has determined that CO2 is terrible at retaining heat in the atmosphere.
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in their Fifth Assessment Report (October 2013) acknowledged that all previous climate models had failed because CO2 is not as effective a "warming gas" as thought. That was not part of the UN's press release, and the IPCC did create "new" models, with other gasses, to "prove" AGW was real.
The separate (published, thankfully) studies, that comprised the science of the IPCC report, went further and determined that CO2, in concentrations between 80ppm (0.0008%) and 2,000ppm (0.02%) total atmospheric concentration, would have little or NO impact on global mean temperatures. Notably, other studies indicate that CO2 concentrations of at least 180ppm are necessary to support healthy global flora (current CO2 is around 400ppm, estimates of historic values are a low of 50ppm in the very late carboniferous period to highs of 5,500ppm in at least three different periods.)
The point is, captured CO2 didn't cause an ice age. It is likely that the absence of CO2 in the atmosphere of the very late Carboniferous Period did cause a massive plant die off, and was the proximate cause of one of the first "modern" extinction events on earth. ("modern" defined as after terrestial fauna)
IMHO - political science has invaded and overwhelmed real science to an extreme, resulting in political shortcuts to science writing - just to get published.
Great special about fungi on Netflix. I had no idea how magnificent they are. Changed my view of biology. They took a different track and preform most of our internal functions externally. Had no idea that mushrooms were the largest living thing in the world. One specimen covers thousands of Acres out west.