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Fossil of the scale tree Lepidodendron aculeatum

The Paläobotanik is the science of the fossil plants . It is an interdisciplinary research area from paleontology and chorology .

The first plants colonized the country as early as the Ordovician . There are finds of well-preserved plant remains from the late Silurian and especially from the Lower Devonian . One of the most important sites is Rhynie in Scotland, where the first fossils of the 400 million year old land plant Rhynia were found. These plants are like today's ferns to the spore plants .

The first seed plants appeared in the Upper Devonian . Many finds of the plants that formed the so-called hard coal forests are known from the Carboniferous . Typical shapes such as calamites or lepidodendrons can often be found in coal seams . The first finds of conifers come from the time of the Westfalian (Upper Carboniferous).

The boundaries of the paleobotanical periods of time do not always coincide with those of palaeozoology , since the development of the animal world is always dependent on the evolution of the plants and therefore only reaches its greatest development afterwards. The geologist Kurd von Bülow therefore suggested in 1941 an orientation towards the development of the plant world for the demarcation of the geological ages. This corresponds to the classification that is still valid today and is generally recognized in German-speaking countries. However, it could not fully assert itself in the English-language paleobotanical literature. Since fossil plant parts were often missing as time markers, mainly animal fossils were used, which is why the zoological classification is often given preference.

Furthermore, paleobotany or archaeobotany , as a neighboring discipline of archeology, deals with the useful plants of humans.


  • Michael J. Benton, David AT Harper: Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record. John Wiley & Sons, 2009, ISBN 1-4051-4157-3 .
  • Karl Mägdefrau : Paleobiology of plants . Fischer, Jena 1968.
  • Wilson N. Stewart, Gar W. Rothwell: Paleobotany and the Evolution of Plants. Cambridge University Press, 2010, ISBN 0-5211-2608-8 .
  • Edith L. Taylor, Thomas N. Taylor, Michael Krings: Paleobotany: The Biology and Evolution of Fossil Plants. Academic Press, 2009, ISBN 0-1237-3972-1 .

Web links

Wiktionary: paleobotany  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Frey and Rainer Lösch (2010): Geobotany. Plant and vegetation in space and time. P. 119, Springer Verlag . ISBN 978-3-8274-2335-1