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Chapter: Plant Anatomy:An Applied Approach: Economic aspects of applied plant anatomy

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Palaeobotany

Just as anatomical features can aid in the identification of archaeological materials, they can be employed in the identification of fossils and place them among extant plant families and genera.

Palaeobotany

Just as anatomical features can aid in the identification of archaeological materials, they can be employed in the identification of fossils and place them among extant plant families and genera. Fossils are usually composed of only some plant parts with the crucial identifying features associated with flowers and fruits being absent. Anatomical features, however, allow us to determine if the plant part is a root or stem or leaf simply by the pres-ence of exarch or endarch protoxylem in the case of the first two. Further examination and comparison to a reference collection of extants may allow us to assign the fossil to an extant taxonomic group. Some fossils may be sectioned, others may be ground down to thin sections suitable for micros-copy, and still others are fossilized in the form of charcoal which may be treated in the same way as recent charcoalified archaeological artefacts.

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