The Origin and Evolution of Angiosperms

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Mono/ Polyphyletic
origins

Terrestrial/ Aquatic
origins

Euanthial/
palaeoherb?

Purported Triassic
angiosperms

Mid Cretaceous
radiation

Environmental
considerations

Coevolution with
insects

Coevolution with
dinosaurs

Darwin's abominable mystery

As if from nowhere, angiosperms appear in the fossil record from some 130 million years ago at the beginning of the Cretaceous, many extremely well preserved and showing clear flowers. This leads to an assumption (not accepted until the 1970ís) that a large amount of evolution had to occur before this point to produce the flowers in the first place. The origins are under debate, but the radiation is widely accepted: over a relatively short space of time, a massive diversification event had taken place. By the early part of the end of the Cretaceous, many of the lineages we recognise today were represented.

A magnolia - supposedly one of the most primitive living angiosperms