An educational resource for botanically-curious students and teachers studying Earth's history, fossils, and evolution
The Earth's history is frequently told through a narrative of animal evolution; strange creatures that remind us of mythical beasts, such as dinosaurs, mammoths, and creatures that fascinate the mind of children and adults. Rarely does popular culture describe geologic history through the most fundamental organisms on the planet: plants, algae, bacteria, and fungi.
This website uses plants (and other "unseen" organisms) as the focus for studying the evolutionary changes on Earth. We all learned that photosynthesis is the basis for most life on Earth. This was also true in the past, and therefore autotrophs and decomposers serve as great lenses with which to study geologic/evolutionary change.
In addition, these organisms can be a better model for understanding evolution. We tend not to think that plants or fungi think or desire, thus avoiding misconceptions that assume organisms want to be taller, larger, faster, etc. Since plants, algae, bacteria, and fungi aren't perceived to have desires, people are more likely to understand and accept the mechanisms of evolution as described by scientists, and without anthropomorphism...
...also, let's face it, as you start to study and understand plants/fungi, you start to realize that they are just. so. amazing!
In order to understand evolution and the role of plants, algae, and fungi in the geologic record, this website is organized to provide paleobotanical information in several different formats
FAQ of Earth's History
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 story-based explanations of how things have changed, using frequently asked questions.
The evolution of land plants is divided into shorter time periods for easy comprehension. This is a short course taught at NYC-based botanical gardens.
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.
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.
This is a reference section for clarification about technical terms that appear throughout the website and paleobotanical literature