OPHISTHOKONTS: Who we are and who’s with us


The Super-Kingdom of the Fungi & the Animals


Are we really related to the Fungi; and if so, are we cousins or siblings or what?


The opisthokonts

(Greek: ???????? (opísthios) = “rear, posterior” + ?????? (kontós) = “pole” i.e. “flagellum”)

are a broad group of eukaryotes,

including both the animal and fungus kingdoms,

together with the eukaryotic microorganisms that are sometimes grouped in the paraphyletic phylum Choanozoa (conventionally assigned to the protist “kingdom”).. The opisthokonts, sometimes referred to as the “Fungi/Metazoa group”, are generally recognized as a monophyletic clade.


A simple sentence or two on Wikipedia and, voila, WE, that is, we card-carrying members of the Animal Kingdom, find ourselves in a Super-Kingdom with the Fungi. The “Fungi/Metazoa group” is that lineage of organisms that includes our two kingdoms, something that we now know as the Opisthokonts, those organisms that, among other features, possess a single, posterior flagellum – on spores of fungi like chytrids and on sperm in most animals. That we are “generally recognized” as a monophyletic clade is the official scientific stamp of approval that we are, indeed, a single evolutionary lineage!


“O, Brave New World that has such creatures in’t.”