Welcome to the Paleoplant Website!

An educational resource for students and teachers studying Earth's history, fossils, and evolution.

Unlike almost all other sites, this site uses plants as the key organisms for studying the evolutionary changes on Earth. As we all learned, photosynthesis is basis to almost all life on Earth. This was especially true in the past, and therefore plants (i.e. photosynthetic organisms) serve as the perfect lens with which to study evolutionary change.

This website is organized to provide this information in several different approaches. 

  • What is Paleobotany? What is a fossil? What are researchers trying to decipher? What problems do they encounter?
  • Mini-sessions: The evolution of land plants is divided into four time periods for easy comprehension. This was a short course taught at The New York Botanical Garden.
  • Narrative: If you are new to the evolutionary history of plants, you may want to explore the section. This section is divided into 10 successive phases of Earth's history. The learning approach of this section is for people who prefer a factual story-based explanation of how things have changed. 
  • Geologic Periods: This section provides detailed information about the Earth's history from a climate, geology, and geography perspective. It will also mention the origins of major groups through the lens of the Earth's timescale.
  • Plant Classification: This section provides detailed information about the evolutionary relationship and taxonomic groups of plants both living and extinct. This section provides information about the structural and physiological changes that appear throughout the evolutionary history of plants.
  • Terminology: This is a reference section for clarification about technical terms that appear throughout the website and paleobotanical literature

Enjoy learning!
Created by Jamie Boyer, PhD
Updated 2Jan15