FOSSIL PLANTS (Living Past)
An amazing look at plants of the past through an examination of the fossils that remain.
Long before there were animals on the earth, many kinds of plants covered the prehistoric planet. The soft remains rarely fossilized, but sometimes leaves, flowers, and branches would fall into soft mud or be encased by the ash of exploding volcanoes. These plants were preserved and now offer a sampling of life in the distant past and a contrast to our present flora. This complete guide to fossil plants explains both the lives of ancient plants and why certain plants became fossilized. Kenrick and Davis trace the evolution of land plants, ferns, conifers, and their relatives, the flowering plants. Interwoven are snapshots of landscapes and environments of various periods, focusing on plant and animal interactions. The included photographs present these ancient, sometimes delicate pieces of shale, and Kenrick and Davis explain the story that fossil plants can tell us about the past. 16 pages of color photographs, 100 b/w photographs.
About the Author
Paul Kenrick and Paul Davis are paleobotanists with The Natural History Museum, London. Kenrick is author of The Origin and Diversification of Land Plants, and Davis is the author of Wild Orchids of Britain and Europe.
Highly enjoyable, March 15, 2005
I thouroughly enjoyed this treatment of the fossil history of plants. The book is very tuned to the casual reader, but also gives solid info on plants such as Calamites (an extinct horsetail), Lepidodendrons, Glossopteris, and many others. I read it to the last page and will keep it around to refer to. Fills a niche that has been somewhat neglected.
Great introduction to Paleobotany, May 30, 2007
This 216 page guide to fossil plants is an excellent overview of the subject. Starting with the simplest cells, it builds to the great forests that once covered much of the Earth. It has separate chapters on the great coal measures, the interaction of plants and animals, and the development of flowering plants.
It contains numerous photographs of plant fossils and has a glossary of terms for those not acquainted with botany.
The book is an excellent introductory text for anyone interested in studying further on the subject of Paleobotany (e.g. Paleobotany and the Evolution of Plants by Wilson N. Stewart).