242 pages, Figs
The evolutionary origin and early history of the angiosperms (or flowering plants), which are the dominant land plants today, has remained an unsolved problem since the time of Darwin. It has been referred to since those days as an 'abominable mystery', because neither direct ancestor nor an agreed date could be determined. Mr Hughes argues that previous approaches, mostly through botanical theory, have been inadequate and misleading. He suggests that the date is about 110 million years ago (in the Cretaceous period) and there is a good chance of ancestors being found if the correct approach is adopted to the study of other fossil plants of that period. Moreover, the study of plant microfossils in the past twenty years has made feasible a fuller geological study of other fossils. When this book was first published in 1976, several reviewers saw it as a timely book on a controversial subject.
1. Introduction and proposition; Part I. Technical Situation: 2. Biology and Earth evolution; 3. Palaeobotanical factors; 4. Data-handling for fossils; Part II. Cretaceous Earth History: 5. Cretaceous flora; 6. Cretaceous land fauna; 7. Cretaceous stratigraphy; Part III. Critical Fossil Evidence: 8. Jurassic gymnosperms; 9. Early Cretaceous gymnosperms; 10. Early Cretaceous fossil evidence of angiosperm characters; 11. Late Cretaceous angiosperms; Part IV. Conclusion from Evidence: 12. Theory of angiosperm origin and early evolution; Part V. Other Theories: 13 Pre-Cretaceous angiosperm chains; 14. Contribution of studies of comparative morphology; 15. Other current theories; Part VI. Consequences: 16. Classification of angiosperms; 17. Summary and future; Glossary; References; Index.
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