An Introduction to Plant Fossils

Christopher J. Cleal and Barry A. Thomas 
Cambridge University Press  September 2009  

Paperback  248 pp  ISBN 9780521715126      £30.00

Hardback  248 pp  ISBN 9780521887151      £77.00
This book provides an excellent practical introduction to the study of plant fossils, and is written for those who have had little previous experience of this type of palaeontology. The text summarises the groups of plants occurring as fossils and describes how best to investigate them. It explains modern research techniques that reveal details of anatomical and reproductive characteristics, and the features for identifying commonly found plant fossils. The approaches for interpreting these fossils are assessed, and the book highlights how such methods are employed by palaeobotanists to increase our knowledge of plant evolution, palaeoecology, palaeogeography and stratigraphy. The book discusses how the science of palaeobotany has developed over the last 300 years, with examples and illustrations from a global range of plant groups. It is valuable for students on introductory or intermediate courses in palaeobotany, palaeontology and plant evolution, and for amateurs looking for help in studying plant fossils.

  • Extensive illustrations of plant fossils and living plants enable the reader to think of fossils as once-living organisms rather than parts of €dead plants€
  • Set-aside boxes describing the key characteristics of major groups of plant fossils provide expert guidance on their identification
  • Emphasis on compressions and impressions, tailored to aid student understanding



  • Introduction;
  • Highlights of palaeobotanical study;
  • Studying plant fossils;
  • Early land plants;
  • Lycophytes;
  • Sphenophytes;
  • Ferns;
  • Early Gymnosperms;
  • Modern Gymnosperms;
  • Angiosperms;
  • The history of land vegetation


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Cambridge University Press : plant science : taxonomy

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