The pollen record of the neotropical flora is potentially rich, able to yield an history not only of vegetation change (and hence of climate change) but also of community dynamics. Yet for a long time pollen analysts neglected the region-the Amazon in particular. This was due partly to the forbidding size of the pollen flora, or practical difficulties of working in tropical forests. More important, however, was the fact that pollen analysis was a creature of the north temperate zone. The first palynologists, like most ecologists, worked in research universities placed by historical accident in a thin band round the northern hemisphere between latitudes 40° and 55° north. Pollen analysis was invented to study the late Pleistocene forest history in these northern latitudes.