Mesozoic and Tertiary Palaeobotany of Great Britain
GCR Volume No. 22
Cleal, C.J., Thomas, B.A., Batten, D.J. & Collinson, M.E.
This is a companion volume to the already-published Palaeozoic Palaeobotany. The history of the changing environments and evolution of the plant groups is traced through the detailed descriptions of the 52 sites, indicating the rise of conifers and cycads in the Mesozoic and, in Tertiary times, the angiosperms (flowering plants) which began to predominate at the expense of earlier plant types.


The end of the Palaeozoic Era (c. 250 million years ago) was a time of major change in land vegetation when traumatic environmental events caused rapid extinction of many plant groups. However, a few groups survived through into the Mesozoic Era and from these the gradual development of modern vegetation can be traced through the fossil record. During the early part of the Mesozoic Era, many families of living ferns and gymnosperms appear and, in late Mesozoic times, the first evidence of flowering plants can be found. By the Tertiary sub-Era, much of the vegetation was dominated by flowering plants like those of the present day.
This is the second volume of the GCR series dealing with plant fossils, and it charts nearly all of the last 250 million years of vegetational history, as represented in the networks of Mesozoic and Tertiary palaeobotany GCR sites. Britain has a particularly fine palaeobotancial record for mid-Jurassic (e.g. the Yorkshire coast), early Cretaceous (Sussex coast) and early Tertiary (e.g. the London Clay) deposits and there are many sites internationally important for floras of these ages. The international sites form the core of the GCR Mesozoic and Tertiary palaeobotany networks. There are in addition, sites that are perhaps not globally important, but nevertheless fill in some of the gaps in the evolutionary history of plants and are of undoubted national importance for both palaeobotanical research and education.
This is the first attempt to make a comparative analysis of the conservation value of these sites, to see how they relate to others nationally and internationally, and to demonstrate the importance of Britain in the development of palaeobotanical science. In many cases, the floras of the individual sites have never been described previously, and this alone makes this volume a valuable scientific resource. The evidence will also be invaluable in promoting the conservation of these sites because it allows, for the first time, the importance of our palaeobotanical heritage to be fully appreciated.
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335 pages, illustrations, A4 hardback
ISBN 1 86107 489 1
Please cite as: Cleal, C.J., Thomas, B.A., Batten, D.J. & Collinson, M.E. (2001) Mesozoic and Tertiary Palaeobotany of Great Britain, Geological Conservation Review Series, No. 22, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough, 335 pp.