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Trends Plant Sci. 2005 Sep;10(9):436-43.

Rise from the ashes - the reconstruction of charcoal fossil flowers.

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Department of Botany, Stockholm University, Lilla Frescativägen 5, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


The fossil record provides a unique opportunity to study the evolutionary history and past diversity of life. Without making use of palaeontological data, a comprehensive understanding of the phylogeny and present diversity of life would remain elusive. Angiosperms (flowering plants) are the largest and most diverse group of land plants. Our understanding of their evolution has in recent years profited immensely from the discovery and study of three-dimensionally preserved fossil flowers. Descriptions of such fossil flowers are in many respects equivalent to those of extant plants. Here, I provide background information about this type of angiosperm fossils and give special attention to the techniques used to reconstruct their three-dimensional shape and organization.

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