Friis, Else Marie Department of Paleobotany, Swedish Musuem of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden.
Pedersen, Kaj Raunsgaard Department of Geology, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.
Crane, Peter R. Royal Botannical Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom.
- Reconstructing angiosperm phylogeny
- Timing of diversification
- Leaves, pollen, and wood
- Fossil flowers
- Systematic position
- Subsequent evolution
- Coevolutionary relationships
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The angiosperms, or flowering plants, are geologically a very young group. They first appeared in the fossil record in the earliest Cretaceous about 140 million years ago, almost 300 million years after the first occurrence of terrestrial plants. Despite this late appearance, angiosperms have developed a bewildering diversity exceeding by far that of any other plant group. In the present flora, angiosperms comprise between 250,000 and 300,000 living species. Timing of angiosperm origin and early diversification is still controversial, but new findings of exquisitely preserved Cretaceous flowers have greatly extended our knowledge of early angiosperms. It is clear from the fossil record that extensive extinctions have taken place in several angiosperm lineages, and that the total angiosperm diversity is much higher than what is seen today.
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