Plants and the K-T Boundary / Edition 1

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Overview

"The Cretaceous Period of geologic time ended abruptly about 65 million years ago with global extinctions of life in the sea and on land - most probably caused by a catastrophic meteorite impact. Although much popular interest has focused on the fate of the dinosaurs at that time, the plants that existed in Cretaceous rime also underwent extensive and permanent changes, and they reveal much more about the nature of this devastating event." "In Plants and the K-T Boundary, two of the world's leading experts in the fields of palynology and paleobotany integrate historical records and the latest research to provide a comprehensive account of the fate of land plants during this "great extinction." The book begins with chapters on how the geological time boundary between the Cretaceous and Paleogene Periods (the K-T boundary) is recognized with varying degrees of resolution, and how fossil plants can be used to understand global events some 65 million years ago. Subsequent chapters present detailed evidence from case studies in over 100 localities around the world, including North America, China, Russia, and New Zealand. The book concludes with an evaluation of the various scenarios for the cause of the K-T boundary event and its effects on floras of the past and the present." This book is written for researchers and students in paleontology, botany, geology, and Earth history, and will be of interest to everyone who has been following the course of the extinction debate and the K-T boundary paradigm shift.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'...a superb discussion on what the plant record tells us about the causes of the mass extinction across the boundary.' Bulletin of the British Ecological Society

'... a sound, clearly written and well-documented book ... The authors, a palynologist and paleobotanist, have done a great service to the scientific community in bringing together the many lines of evidence ... to provide a clear and detailed picture of the nature of the plant life at the close of the Cretaceous and the beginning of the Paleogene. ... We recommend this book to all who take an interest in the geologic history of our Earth.' Newsletter of the AASP (The Palynological Society)

'... this book is an important contribution to the literature of both palaeobotany and palynology and is of interest to any plant scientist concerned with the capacity of the terrestrial flora to respond to major environmental change.' Annals of Botany

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521835756
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/2/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas J. Nichols is a Research Associate with the Department of Earth Sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and a Scientist Emeritus with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). He received his Ph.D. in geology from The Pennsylvania State University before pursuing a career that has included university teaching, the oil industry, and 30 years of research with the USGS. Dr Nichols is a palynologist, with research interests in the fossil pollen and spores of Upper Cretaceous and Paleogene rocks, with emphasis on biostratigraphy, paleoecology, evolution, and extinction events. In 2005 he received the Meritorious Service Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior for his research on the biostratigraphy of nonmarine rocks and the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K–T) boundary in western North America. Dr Nichols is the author or coauthor of more than 140 scientific papers and has served as an editor of the journals Palynology and Cretaceous Research.

Kirk R. Johnson is Vice President of Research & Collections and Chief Curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS). He joined the DMNS in 1991 after earning his doctorate in geology and paleobotany at Yale University. Dr Johnson's research focuses on Late Cretaceous and early Paleogene fossil plants and landscapes of the Rocky Mountain region and is best known for his research on fossil plants, which is widely accepted as some of the most convincing support for the theory that an asteroid impact caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. He has published many popular and scientific articles on topics ranging from fossil plants and modern rainforests to the ecology of whales and walruses, and co-authored the book Prehistoric Journey: A History of Life on Earth.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Background 1

1 Introduction 3

2 Resolution of the K-T boundary 13

3 Using fossil plants to study the K-T boundary 27

4 Brief history of K-T boundary paleobotany and palynology 34

5 Overview of latest Cretaceous and early Paleocene vegetation 46

Pt. II Regional Case Studies 67

6 Williston Basin - the most complete K-T sections known 69

7 Other North American records 104

8 Eurasia 159

9 The remnants of Gondwana 195

Pt. III Interpretations 215

10 Assessment of the K-T boundary event 217

11 Evaluation of scenarios for the K-T boundary event 222

12 Floral effects of the K-T boundary event 229

Appendix 231

References 254

Index 278

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