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"The role of Bd in ongoing devastating species collapses and extinction events may provide insights into historical events that profoundly altered the trajectory of the animal kingdom on Earth. Arturo Casadevall proposed a provocative model that fungi were involved in the extinction of the dinosaurs. We know that 65 million years ago, a meteor struck the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Earth was enveloped by a resulting dust cloud that killed many of the animals and plants on the planet. As a consequence, a fungal bloom ensued that degraded the ubiquitous dead and decaying plant material. We know this because adjacent to the iridium peak in the fossil record we can see a layer of fungal spores at the KT boundary. This fungal bloom is thought to have given rise to a high density of aerosolized fungal spores, and conjectured to have infected the dinosaurs that were thought to be either poikilothermic (cold-blooded) or only partially homeothermic, and therefore unable to restrict the growth of fungi afforded by the higher core body temperature present in mammals. As a consequence, the mammals flourished and emerged to become the dominant life form on the planet, replacing the dinosaurs and other reptiles. That Bd is causing contemporary extinction events lends support to the notion that infectious diseases caused by fungi may have dramatically shaped the evolutionary trajectory of life on our planet, including that of our own species."

Microbial pathogens in the fungal kingdom. (2011) Fungal Biology Reviews 25(1): 48-60

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