The fossil was found in Myanmar and according to the experts, the grass had traces of a fungus close related to the modern-day ergot.
Ergot is known for its side-effects if ingested by humans or animals. Some of its side effects include hallucinations, convulsions and even gangrene.
Some believe that ergot was responsible for the death of dozens of women during the Salem witch trials in the 1600s.
The scientists believe that the 100 million year old fungus found on the piece of grass may have been part of the dinosaurs’ diet when they roamed the Earth.
The findings on the pre-historic grass were published in the journal Palaeodiversity by a team of researchers from Oregon State University and USDA Agricultural Research Service.
George Poinar Jr., one of the scientists involved in the study, said that the recent findings reveal that the ergot fungus has been a part of humans’ and animals’ life since the beginning of time.
According to Poinar, the new discovery is very important for understanding the evolution of grass, which seems to have been the humans’ basis of food supply, since it is linked with early crops of wheat, rice or corn.
The findings also reveal that the ergot fungus may have existed for as long as the grass itself, acting both as a toxin and as a hallucinogen.
Poinar says that the dinosaurs must definitely have eaten this type of grass hundreds of million years ago, but no one can say for sure what effects the ergot fungus had on the giant animals.
The 100 million year old fungus trapped in amber, which no longer exists, is called Palaeoclaviceps parasitic. The fungus was similar to the modern-day Claviceps, also known as ergot.
The amber fossil was discovered in the mines from Myanmar and is approximately 97 to 110 million years old.
The science experts say the grass lived during the Cretaceous age, when conifers and dinosaurs were predominant, while flowering plants, grass and small mammals were starting to evolve.
Image Source: upi