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Abstract Detail

Annals of Botany

Friedman, William [1].

Darwin's "abominable mystery" and the search for the earliest flowering plants.

Charles Darwin's "abominable mystery" has come to symbolize most of the questions we have about the origin and early evolution of flowering plants. What did Darwin think was so abominably mysterious? This mystery will be examined through Darwin's correspondence with some of the most eminent botanists of his time. As will be seen, the fossil record,theories of plant-insect coevolution, and age-old questions about rates of evolutionary change were all part of the complexity that Darwin was attempting to decipher. The second portion of this presentation will focus on how our understanding of the origin and early diversification of angiosperms progressed since Darwin's time, with particular emphasis on recent advances in comparative morphology and embryology, paleobotany,and insights into phylogenetic relationships among flowering plants. As will be seen, our current hypotheses for the earliest phases of flowering plant evolution are radically different from the static, if not dogmatic, views that dominated most of the twentieth century.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Arnold Arboretum of Harvard, 1300 Centre St, Boston, MA, 02131, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Special Presentation
Session: S6
Location: Franklin C and D/Hyatt
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 11:00 AM
Number: S6001
Abstract ID:1293

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