Distribution and ecology of early ferns

Andrew C. Scott, Jean Galtier

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A review of current knowledge of the distribution of Palaeozoic ferns and fern-like plants is presented. Whilst numerous putative ferns occur in the Devonian, it is not until the Lower Carboniferous that ferns belonging to the Filicales appear. The Namurian represents a major gap in our knowledge. The ecology of late Palaeozoic ferns is reviewed. The association of early fern assemblages with volcanic terrains is considered particularly significant in the relationship between evolution and environment. Extinction of more specialised groups may have been caused by climatic changes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh section B: Biological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1985


  • Palaeozoic
  • Devonian
  • Lower Carboniferous
  • ferns
  • Filicales
  • palaeobotany
  • palaeoecology
  • evolution

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