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the aggregate of branches of science (above all, botany) dealing with the study of pollen grains and spores. Many scientists define palynology as an independent science studying pollen and spores and their dissemination and uses. The term “palynology” was proposed in 1944 by the English paleobotanists H. Hyde and D. Williams.
The principal subdivision of palynology is palynomorphology, which studies the shape, structure, and development of spores and pollen grains (male gametophytes of seed plants). The ex-tines and, less frequently, the perinia have characteristic morphological features that are important in spore-pollen analysis. Comparative palynomorphological research is used in the taxonomy of plants (palynotaxonomy) and in the study of the dissemination and fossilization of pollen grains and spores.
Spore-pollen analysis, primarily of sedimentary rocks and peat, helps solve various paleobotanical, geomorphological, and geological (stratigraphic) problems. Palynologists also study the composition of beebread and pollen in honey (mellittopalynology). The study of pollen grains and spores is valuable in determining the causes of certain types of allergies (medical palynology). Spore-pollen analysis is also used in criminology (forensic palynology). The use of spores and pollen grains for the production of alloyed steel is also under study.
REFERENCESNeishtadt, M. I. Palinologiia v SSSR (1952–1957). Moscow, 1960.
Sladkov, A. N. Vvedenie v sporovo-pyl’tsevoi analiz. Moscow, 1967.
Erdtman, G. Introduction till palynologin. Stockholm, 1963.
A. N. SLADKOV