Ancestors

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Today, the tallest bryophytes reach a maximum height of 20 centimeters (8 inches) or so. So far as we know from fossils, there were no giants among their ancestors. Lignin and vascular tissue first evolved in relatives of club moss, and some extinct species stood 40 meters (130 feet) high. Among modern seed plants, Sequoia (a gymnosperm) and Eucalyptus (an angiosperm) can be more than 100 meters (330 feet) high. Explain why evolution of vascular tissues and lignin would have allowed such a dramatic increase in plant height. How might being tall give one plant species a competitive advantage over another?

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