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How flowers changed the world a new book by Field Museum scientist

CHICAGO--Stop. Smell the roses.

And the daisies, petunias and orchids.

Also, stop to consider sugar, potatoes and wheat; cotton, corn and coffee.

All of these are flowering plants, which completely transformed the world by providing rich biological diversity, propelling primate evolution, spurring evolution, allowing for agriculture, and ushering in civilization not to mention beautifying the world. Flowers: How They Changed the World, a new book for a general audience, describes the fascinating role flowering plants have played in the story of life on Earth. It is written by popular author William C. Burger, PhD, Curator Emeritus of Botany at Chicago's Field Museum. He also wrote the highly acclaimed Perfect Planet, Clever Species.

Flowers (210 pages with drawings and color illustrations) is available from Prometheus Books starting this spring just in time for the blooming of flowering plants, grasses and trees.

"Burger takes us on a wide-ranging romp through the world of flowers from their most intimate secrets to their global significance," says Sir Peter Crane, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, in London. "This is a wonderful book for any naturalist or gardener who wants not only to see but also to understand." There were no flowers of any kind on Earth until about 100 million years ago during the late Jurassic, which was the middle of the Dinosaur Age. It's hard to imagine what such a flowerless world would have been like. Not only was it drab, but food for birds and mammals and other living creatures would have been far more difficult to find and far less nutritious.

But flowers, in all there myriad variations, did not evolve for our eating or viewing pleasure. They evolved as they did for survival. Their bright colors, attractive fragrances, and alluring shapes were designed to induce insects and other animals to do their bidding: help them pollinate and assure their continued existence.

"Flowers are th
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Contact: Greg Borzo
gborzo@fieldmuseum.org
312-665-7106
Field Museum
17-Mar-2006


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