KU professor won't 'leaf' publishers alone, says textbooks are w - KCTV5

KU professor won't 'leaf' publishers alone, says textbooks are wrong about ferns

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Christopher Haufler has fronds in high places. He is one of the top fern experts in the United States. In more than 20 years of research, the KU professor has studied the ancient plants and the way they reproduce. (Nathan Vickers/KCTV5 News) Christopher Haufler has fronds in high places. He is one of the top fern experts in the United States. In more than 20 years of research, the KU professor has studied the ancient plants and the way they reproduce. (Nathan Vickers/KCTV5 News)
LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV) -

It turns out most science textbooks are wrong about ferns - one of the oldest plant families on the planet.

Now, a University of Kansas professor wants to set the record straight.

Christopher Haufler has fronds in high places. He is one of the top fern experts in the United States. In more than 20 years of research, the KU professor has studied the ancient plants and the way they reproduce.

"We've discovered ferns have two little plants and they fertilize each other," he said.

But Haufler says almost all science textbooks, for all grade levels, get it wrong. Most say ferns inbreed. Haufler's work shows that's not quite right.

"For a long time, the problem we've had in textbooks is they've tried to simplify," Haufler said.

The scientist knows some might see it as splitting hairs - or maybe splitting leaves. He hopes to correct the textbooks, but publishers' minds are difficult to change.

"You're beating your head against the wall, because the manufacturers would like things to be more simple. We're sorry about that, but facts are facts," Haufler said.

Haufler has been trying to correct the mistake for years, but his most recent work is published in the Journal of Bioscience. He's hoping this time, textbook publishers take notice.

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