What is Paleobotany?

Paleobotany is a field of paleontology that studies plants throughout geologic history, and is primarily concerned with the fossil record and evolutionary history of plants.

What are the objectives of paleobotany?

What is a fossil? 

Conditions of Fossilization

Direct Fossil Evidence

Above: impression fossil of palm leaf

Below: trace fossil of Cambrian invertebrate

Indirect Fossil Evidence

Above: coprolite of dinosaur

Below: fossil amber with some inclusions

Types of Fossilization


Above: compression of fern leaf


Above: impression of palm leaf

Casts and Molds

Above: Cast stump of Eospermatopteris


Above: Permineralized stump from Petrified Forest National Park

Molecular Fossils

Subdisciplines of Paleobotany


Development / Growth of ancient organisms 

Form and function of plant structures 

Origin and evolution of major plant groups 


What are Form Taxa?

Above: Lycopod scale tree reconstruction; note the different genus names for parts of the plant

Additional Resources