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The Evolutionary Biology of Plants Paperback – 7 Aug 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 470 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (7 Aug. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226580830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226580838
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,036,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Book Reviews:
"This much-needed review of the evolution of plants from the origin of life on earth to the most advanced flowering plants is more than a textbook. As a paleobotanist, Niklas has provided an excellent insight into the history of the plant kingdom, but the text is brought to life through many fascinating facts about living plants, by molecular and genetic information, and by a balanced review of such topics as the species concept and of cladistic methods." – Sir Ghillean Prance, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

"This book conveys a brilliant, up-to-date vision of evolutionary plant biology. Every biologist, from the student to the experienced specialist, should profit from its fresh outlook." - Peter Endress, Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zürich

"Plant biologists have in one sense been waiting many years for this book, and yet perhaps its real importance lies in the fact they did not realize it was coming." - Nature

"So well does the author explain as he goes along that The Evolutionary Biology of Plants should be accessible to all biologists and interested non-biologists. It is not easy reading, but the text is both authoritative and enjoyable." - Times Literary Supplement

"Those interested in the evolution of plant life, and in evolution in general, will certainly find this work insightful and well worth reading." - American Scientist

"Karl Niklas, a brilliant student of evolutionary plant morphology, has presented a work that ties together the major themes of evolution in an impressive and extraordinarily useful synthesis." - Peter Raven, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden

"Niklas draws masterfully from population biology, physiology, mechanics, and paleontology in fashioning a distinctive perspective on plant evolution. Don;t read this book unless you want to think." - Andrew Knoll, Harvard University

"This book is very well written, especially current, thought provoking, and an excellent synthesis. Niklas not only highlights some of the major evolutionary innovations involving plants, but also presents a fresh, synthetic perspective on the role that both extant and fossil plants may play in interpreting evolution. The entire text can used by undergraduate students with minimal background in the biological sciences." - Thomas Taylor, University of Kansas


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace did not originate the concept of adaptation, but they were the first to offer a coherent explanation for how organisms evolve the ability to cope with particular, often vastly different environments. Read the first page
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 April 1998
Format: Paperback
The rarity of up-to-date general surveys on this topic makes this a valuable book, but I think a better job could have been done. It starts out in a promising way, with an excellent introduction to the issues and problems of evolution from the perspective of plant biology, and I found this to be the most enlightening section of the book. The writing at that point is clear and purposeful. However, things start ramping down from there. Plant evolution is dealt with in a piecemeal fashion: certain topics, notably the author's own concern with the evolution of morphology, are treated at length; other, equally important, topics, e.g., symbioses, are skipped almost entirely (there is not a single word on the evolution of mycorrhizal or nitrogen-fixation symbiosis, and very little about the various angiosperm-insect symbioses). Interactions with diseases, parasites and herbivores are virtually ignored. This seriously detracts from the book's clear intent to sketch the "big picture" in plant evolution, and the author's increasingly complicated and disconnected prose does not help matters. But for someone thirsting for knowledge on plant evolution, the book provides plenty of things to think about, and the ample bibliography points the way to more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 May 1999
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine told me about this book and said I had to read it. I am not a science student, but I found the book in my school library and read it anyway. It's a great book and I'm sure glad my friend told me about it. Plants are truly interesting, perhaps more so than animals because plants are so different from everything we are taught about in high school biology. Niklas's book is also well written. He speaks directly to the reader, using simple words to describe really complicated biological issues. Everything I always wondered about is found in this book. I've recommended it to my friends. I think everybody ought to know about the 'green world' that surrounds us!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 April 1999
Format: Paperback
The author has written an up to date and thoughtful book about evolution using plants as examples of all major ideas. This book should be read by any one interested in evolution or plant biology. The text is easy to read, with a minimum of jargon, and the book is well illustrated. I was especially interested in how the author combined information for the study of living plants with the information from the fossil record. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I recommend it highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 April 1999
Format: Paperback
I am a student of animal biology and this book was assigned by one of my professors as a textbook. I knew nothing about plants until I read this book, and I really dreaded the idea of having to learn about plants. Niklas's book opened my eyes to the wonder and fascination of plant biology as well as the wonders of plant evolution, which are very different from what most of us have been taught about animals. I've read this book from cover to cover, at least twice. And each time I've picked up something new and exciting to think about. All of my friends in the class agree with me - - this is a great book and people should pay attention to it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Conceptually one of the best books I have ever read. Highly recommended!
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