Paleobotany of Land Plants

  • Paul Kenrick
  • Else Marie Friis
Part of the Progress in Botany/Fortschritte der Botanik book series (BOTANY, volume 56)


The impact of paleobotanical data on land plant systematics is greatest for ancient cladogenic events, resulting in isolated extant groups of divergent morphology. Paleobotanical data are therefore ideally suited to addressing problems in land plant macrosystematics, an area of botanical research that has received considerable attention over the last 10 years. Macrosystematics deals with the recognition and definition of patterns of relationship among major groups of organisms. Current interest stems from important advances in systematic theory that began during the 1960s and have developed into the widely used “cladistic approach” (Nelson and Platnick 1981). Macrosystematic studies make use of data from a number of disciplines ranging from general comparative morphology to plant ultrastructure and biochemistry. Recently, the application of molecular biological techniques to systematic problems has generated a large and important new set of data. Because none of these sources of data produce unambiguous results, it is important to retain a critical multidisciplinary approach to macrosystematic problems. Furthermore, the prevalence of extinction in the history of land plants means that paleobotanical data contribute the only source of information on a huge range of forms, and many aspects of relationship, homology, and the history of terrestrial life can only be understood through the window provided by the fossil record.


Fossil Record Land Plant Seed Plant Lower Devonian Seed Cone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Kenrick
    • 1
  • Else Marie Friis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PalaeobotanySwedish Museum of Natural HistoryStockholmSweden

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