Books  Palaeontology  Palaeobotany 

Early Flowers and Angiosperm Evolution

By: Else Marie Friis (Author), Peter R Crane (Author), Kaj Raunsgaard Pedersen (Author)

585 pages, colour & b/w photos and illustrations, b/w line drawings, colour maps

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Aug 2011 | #190673 | ISBN-13: 9780521592833
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £108.00 $132/€121 approx

About this book

Please note that the publisher has cancelled plans for a paperback version.

The recent discovery of diverse fossil flowers and floral organs in Cretaceous strata has revealed astonishing details about the structural and systematic diversity of early angiosperms.

Exploring the rich fossil record that has accumulated over the last three decades, this is a unique study of the evolutionary history of flowering plants from their earliest phases in obscurity to their dominance in modern vegetation. The discussion provides comprehensive biological and geological background information, before moving on to summarise the fossil record in detail.

Including previously unpublished results based on research into Early and Late Cretaceous fossil floras from Europe and North America, the authors draw on direct palaeontological evidence of the pattern of angiosperm evolution through time. Synthesising palaeobotanical data with information from living plants, Early Flowers and Angiosperm Evolution explores the latest research in the field, highlighting connections with phylogenetic systematics, structure and the biology of extant angiosperms.

"[...] this book provides not only facts but also many potential questions and can thus serve as both an inspirational textbook [and] as a recipe for future research investigations. [...] an important book for those wishing a fuller understanding of floral evolution. Buy it, read it, discuss it, and you will achieve sexual enlightenment of the floral kind."
Plant Science Bulletin

"[...] copiously illustrated throughout with colour photographs, graphs, diagrams and drawings. [...] This long-awaited book represents not only a remarkable tour de force of palaeobotanical literature, but also a potentially enduring biological textbook. Part of its appeal lies in the excellence of its production."
Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society

"[...] how do you write a definitive book for the 21st Century? Early Flowers and Angiosperm Evolution provides a blueprint [...] It stands as a superbly annotated index of the data behind our current understanding of early angiosperm evolution [...] This is among the most beautiful scholarly books I've seen in a long time. Outcrop pictures are clearly rendered in color, and maps and some diagrams include a touch of hue to enhance interpretation [...] It is detailed, accessible and offers a synthetic perspective from a team that has been thinking deeply about this topic for decades. And I hope this isn't the last word. But the thing I love best about paleontology is that one fossil can rewrite everything we thought that we knew. Then we'll be ready for the next definitive book."
Evolution – This View of Life: Paleontology Magazine


1. Introduction to angiosperms
2. The nature of the angiosperm fossil record
3. The environmental context of early angiosperm evolution
4. Stratigraphic framework and key areas for Cretaceous angiosperms
5. Angiosperms in context: extant and fossil seed plants
6. Origin and age of angiosperms
7. Phylogenetic framework and the assignment of fossils to extant groups
8. Fossils near the base of the angiosperm tree
9. Early fossil angiosperms of uncertain relationships
10. Early fossils of eumagnoliids
11. Fossils of monocots
12. Fossils of eudicots: early diverging groups
13. Fossils of core eudicots: basal lineages
14. Fossils of core eudicots: rosids
15. Early fossils of eudicots: asterids
16. Patterns of structural diversification in angiosperm reproductive organs
17. History and evolution of pollination in angiosperms
18. History and evolution of dispersal in angiosperms
19. Vegetational context of early angiosperm diversification
20. The accumulation of angiosperm diversity


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Else Marie Friis is Professor and Head of Department at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. Her research interests include Cretaceous flowers and other reproductive structures with particular focus on the origin and early diversification of angiosperms and related seed plants.

Peter R. Crane is Professor and Carl W. Knobloch, Jr, Dean at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University. His research interests include large-scale patterns and processes of plant evolution, integrated palaeobotanical and neobotanical studies of plant diversity, and evolution.

Kaj Raunsgaard Pedersen is Emeritus Professor at the Department of Geology, University of Aarhus. His research interests include integrated palynological and palaeobotanical studies of Mesozoic seed plants with particular focus on Cretaceous reproductive structures and flowering plant evolution.

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