A number of modern developments in palynology are reviewed, with emphasis on those subjects which may be of interest and, possibly, also of practical value to geologists of various specializations. These include pollen preservation, the use of accumulation-rate diagrams as opposed to the classical pollen-percentage diagrams and the application of fluorescence microscopy. Marine palynology is discussed in a rather detailed fashion and its various prospects for stratigraphy, sedimentology and environmental geology are outlined. Some trends in pre-Quaternary palynology include new attempts at a palyno-stratigraphy of the Neogene, the many applications of palynological studies of salt deposits, the growing importance of palynology to palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology and palaeoecology, and the use of a decimal code system for microfossils. Palynological data about the origin of the gymnosperms, chlamydosperms and angiosperms are briefly summarized. General information is presented about microphytoplankton evolution in the course of geological time.