Considerable progress has been made in documenting evidence of very early plants starting in the basal Ordovician employing dispersed spore, phytodebris, and mesofossil data. Macrofossil evidence is sparse until Late Silurian, but recent new data are improving our understanding of aspects of earliest plants. The considerable information about the possible source of cryptospores and trilete spores especially from the well-preserved mesofossils of the Late Silurian and Early Devonian is summarized. Promising avenues of research are the study of spore ultrastructure, and neo-paleo comparisons between newly discovered resistant components of extant bryophytes and fragmentary fossil remains. Recent macrofossil discoveries in the Late Silurian advance our understanding of early events in plant evolution and raise new questions about the timing of evolution or relationships among earliest (mostly vascular) plants.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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