This is the finest palaeobotanical textbook for decades, and one that captures extremely well the exciting renaissance the subject is currently experiencing. This dramatic transformation is largely a response to the recent surge in interest in past and future global change issues and the rise of Earth System Science. In their bold and ambitious synthesis Willis & McElwain emphasize the importance of plants in regulating the Earth’s system throughout its later evolution and provide numerous examples of how fossil plants can actually provide the key to unlocking many aspects of past global change.

Following an opening chapter on palaeobotanical methods,...

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