DNA analysis reveals the identity of the first plants.

Land plants, the fossil record shows, evolved some time before 476 million years ago. Unfortunately, the earliest fossils are just spores and don't reveal much about what sort of plants they came from. But where fossil hunters have failed, molecular botanists studying plant genes may have succeeded. Genetic studies suggest that liverworts--humble, stumpy plants related to mosses, which now commonly grow on damp soils--are the most ancient group of plants alive today. 

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