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How the Earth Turned Green: A Brief 3.8-Billion-Year History of Plants

by Joseph Armstrong University of Chicago Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 576 pages
AU$92.00 NZ$95.65
Product Status: In Stock Now
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On this blue planet, long before pterodactyls took to the skies and tyrannosaurs prowled the continents, tiny green organisms populated the ancient oceans. Fossil and phylogenetic evidence suggests that chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for coloring these organisms, has been in existence for some 85% of Earth and rsquo;s long history and mdash;that is, for roughly 3.5 billion years. In How the Earth Turned Green, Joseph E. Armstrong traces the history of these verdant organisms, which many would call plants, from their ancient beginnings to the diversity of green life that inhabits the Earth today. Using an evolutionary framework, How the Earth Turned Green addresses questions such as: Should all green organisms be considered plants? Why do these organisms look the way they do? How are they related to one another and to other chlorophyll-free organisms? How do they reproduce? How have they changed and diversified over time? And how has the presence of green organisms changed the Earth and rsquo;s ecosystems? More engaging than a traditional textbook and displaying an astonishing breadth, How the Earth Turned Green will both delight and enlighten embryonic botanists and any student interested in the evolutionary history of plants.

Preface: A Botanist at Large

1: A Green World

2: Small Green Beginnings

3: Cellular Collaborations

4: A Big Blue Marble

5: Down by the Sea (-weeds)

6: The Great Invasion

7: The Pioneer Spirit

8: Back to the Devonian

9: Seeds to Success

10: A Cretaceous Takeover

11: All Flesh Is Grass



Brown Algae and Tribophyceans

Clubmosses and Fossil Stem Groups

Conifers and Ginkgoes

Coniferophytes: Cordaitales and Voltziales




Green Algae

Green Bacteria






Red Algae

Rhyniophytes and Trimerophytes

Seed Ferns

Whisk Ferns





GÇ£Practicing or apprenticing botanists, plant biologists, agronomists, and horticulturists need a detailed understanding of the evolution of plants for a correct perspective on the organisms they study and use, but the current general textbooks provide an inadequate watered-down history. In How the Earth Turned Green, through the knowledge, skill, and friendly writing of Armstrong and the wisdom of the University of Chicago Press, we finally have a book to fill this gap. Its eleven chapters'the final two about the flowering plants'tell the whole story, backed up by a detailed and illustrated appendix on fossil and living ancestors going back to the green algae and cyanobacteria. An essential book for plant students and professionals.n++?
Joseph E. Armstrong is an award-winning teacher, professor of botany, head curator of the Vasey Herbarium, and director of the Organismal Biology and Public Outreach Sequence for Biological Sciences Majors, all at Illinois State University.