Palaeo After Dark

The gang discusses a few papers that look at the evolutionary history, biogeography, and life habit of Mesozoic turtles. Specifically, they look at a paper about a stem turtle with interesting information about the evolutionary history of turtle morphology, a paper on a special fossil of a marine turtle with exceptionally preserved eggs, and a paper that investigates the biogeographic history of turtles. Basically, its a whole lotta turtles! Meanwhile, James resurrects some old arguments, Curt revisits cherished film scenes, and Amanda has a new obsession.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group look at two papers that are looking at animals with four legs and hard parts on the outside that they can hide in. These things are found on land with legs and in the water with water legs that they use for being not on land. This is a very long set of words, so we will call them hard boys.

The first paper is looking at a hard boy that was full of little round things that would become babies. This is the second hard boy to be found with almost babies and can tell us whether hard boys had lots of babies or not a lot of babies. Hard boys that are in the water usually have a lot of babies that are not expected to live very long; this long dead hard boy actually had not many babies, so although it lived in the water it expected its babies to live.

The second paper is looking at where hard boys lived in the past and how they got to be where they are today. The paper shows that hard boys started in one place that was very big and that they stayed on it as it broke up over time. As it broke up they also moved between the bits, so the hard boys were able to move between the bits even though they are usually slow. They keep doing this until the bits get too far from each other to let the hard boys move across.

 

References:

 Li, Chun, et al. "A Triassic stem turtle with an edentulous beak." Nature560.7719 (2018): 476. 

 Ferreira, Gabriel S., et al. "Phylogeny, biogeography and diversification patterns of side-necked turtles (Testudines: Pleurodira)." Royal Society open science 5.3 (2018): 171773. 

 Cadena, Edwin‐Alberto, et al. "A gravid fossil turtle from the Early Cretaceous reveals a different egg development strategy to that of extant marine turtles." Palaeontology (2018). 

Direct download: Podcast_162_-_Turtle_Power.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at how various animals associated with whales have reacted to environmental shifts over the last several hundred thousand years. The first paper looks at polar bears and reviews data on the potential utility of whale carcasses on polar bear survival during warmer periods in recent Earth history. The second paper investigates how changes in the shell chemistry of barnacles attached to whales may preserve important information on whale migratory patterns. Meanwhile, James has ideas about Final Fantasy and all Square Enix protagonists, Curt thinks James is the Kuja of the podcast, and Amanda finds her ideal Nobody name. Somehow we got on a real theme this episode.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends do not talk about very large big heavy things that had hair once. Instead our friends talk about small weird hard things that don't move that do not look like tiny things with many legs but are actually very close to tiny things with many legs. These things that do not look like tiny things with many legs but are actually very close to the tiny things with many legs are hard and live on the very large big heavy things that had hair once, but do not hurt them. They are friends, but the large big heavy things that had hair once don't actually care about the small weird hard things that don't move. But the small weird hard things that don't move can help us see if the big large heavy things that had hair once move around when it goes from warm to cold or not. It turns out that maybe even very old big large heavy things that had hair once might have moved around just like today's do. Our friends also talk about large white angry things with hair that want food that eat the large big heavy things that had hair once. These large white angry things with hair are in trouble because their home is going away. Their home has gone away in the past, and maybe they ate the big large heavy things that had hair once when they died and came on land. One big large heavy thing that had hair once can be food for lots and lots of large angry white things with hair. But people have killed a lot of the big large heavy things that had hair once, and that might be a problem. Maybe the big white angry things with hair won't be able to eat the large big heavy things that had hair once anymore, and they will all die.   

 

References:

Taylor, Larry D., et al. "Isotopes from fossil coronulid barnacle shells record evidence of migration in multiple Pleistocene whale populations." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2019): 201808759. 

 Laidre, Kristin L., et al. "Historical and potential future importance of large whales as food for polar bears." Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 16.9 (2018): 515-524. 

Direct download: Podcast_161_-_Whales_Not_Whales.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang finds two papers that discuss the ecology of fossil mustelids, the objectively best group of mammals. Both of these papers look at creative solutions to try and interpret past life habits for some very complex and debated fossil organisms. Meanwhile, James becomes passionate about food, Amanda wonders what sitcom the podcast must be, Curt discusses the true American Dream, and everyone is very sorry about how off track we get in this podcast. (Editor’s Note: We sort of get to talking about the papers around 7:45)

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about cute long animals with hair that pretty much everyone of them loves. They find two papers that look at how some of the long animals from very very long again may have lived. They look at the hard parts of the head to see what these long animals could have eaten. Some of these long animal heads are really weird and have big raised edges on the top of the head. One of these papers look at using lot of numbers to try and figure out what one of these very old and weird looking long animals may have eaten. They find that there is a lot of things we need to look at and consider if we want to try and figure out what these very old animals ate. They find that its actually very hard to do, but that's a cool and good thing. We need to use lots of different numbers and study lots of different parts if we want to get a good understand of these very very old animals.

 

References:

Valenciano, Alberto, et al. "Megalictis, the bone-crushing giant mustelid (Carnivora, Mustelidae, Oligobuninae) from the Early Miocene of North America." PloS one 11.4 (2016): e0152430. 

 Prybyla, Alixandra N., Zhijie Jack Tseng, and John J. Flynn. "Biomechanical simulations of Leptarctus primus (Leptarctinae, Carnivora), and new evidence for a badger-like feeding capability." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (2019): e1531290. 

Direct download: Podcast_160_-_Weasel_Time.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about the Cretaceous mass extinction event (i.e. the time that the non-avian dinosaurs died). Specifically, they talk about the Deccan Traps, a widespread volcanic province that was active during the extinction event. The first paper studies the timing of the volcanic activity to determine if the onset of volcanism can be explained by the large bollide impact (Editors Note: Apologies to all igneous petrologists who will likely be yelling at our ignorance of hard rock geology). The second paper uses ecological niche modeling to see if dinosaurs were experiencing significant reduction in their geographic range before the extinction event. Also, James is in a “good” mood, so please enjoy as we bounce between topics like Sinclair oil, the French Revolution, “training” children, and experiences at paleo festivals. Its definitely one of those podcasts.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about the time when the big angry animals with no hair and large teeth all died. One of the ideas is that a very big rock hit and killed everything. Another idea is that rock that acts like water came out of the ground and changed the air and that killed everything by making things too warm or too cold. Many people are starting to think the rock that acts like water that came out of the ground killed the big angry animals with no hair and large teeth, because it seems like they died more slowly that maybe they should have if a big rock hit the ground and killed everything. That would be very fast. But then maybe the big rock that hit the ground really did kill everything, because it turns out that the rock that acts like water that came out of the ground maybe didn't happen at the same time that the big angry animals with no hair and large teeth died. It might also be that big angry animals with no hair and large teeth were maybe around in more places and maybe there were more big angry animals with no hair and large teeth than we think because we only have rocks in some places from some times and that makes it look like the big angry animals with no hair and large teeth died slowly, but maybe they actually died fast.

 

References:

 Sprain, Courtney J., et al. "The eruptive tempo of Deccan volcanism in relation to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary." Science 363.6429 (2019): 866-870. 

 Chiarenza, Alfio Alessandro, et al. "Ecological niche modelling does not support climatically-driven dinosaur diversity decline before the Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction." Nature communications 10 (2019). 

Direct download: Podcast_159_-_Rocks_Fall_Everyone_Dies_The_Cretaceous_Mass_Extinction.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates their 6th anniversary by taking some time to talk about two papers about early mammal ecology. The first paper looks at some unique traces left by Mesozoic mammals, while the second paper attempts to determine how early mammals might have chewed their food. Meanwhile, James has made friends with his new Eevee named DMX, Amanda finds the fuel to sustain herself, and Curt imagines some tactical mammal stealth action.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’re wondering if Curt went all the way into making a complete edit on that song near the end….. of course he did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-fs-Qx8W18 )

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

Today the group looks at two papers dealing with animals with warm blood and hair and looking at how they lived a long time ago. The first paper is looking at tracks of animals with hair that look a bit weird, with one side pushing down more than the other. The people studying the tracks think that they could have been made by an animal with hair carrying babies on it. This would be interesting as it would suggest that the animals with hair looked after their babies and let them drink warm white wet stuff from their bodies even this long ago. In order to see whether the tracks were made by an animal with hair that carried babies, the people writing the paper took an animal with hair that eats things people throw out but people also keep as animal friends and stuck things to it to make it carry them as if it was carrying babies to see if when it tried to walk it made tracks like they see in the rocks. It really just wanted to lie down but when it did walk it made tracks just like they see in the rock from a long time ago! The second paper is looking at how animals with hair that are around today eat their food and seeing how much it is the same or different to how animals with hair a long time ago ate. They show that they eat a way that we were not thinking they would and actually roll their mouth when biting, and that some of our strangest animals with hair that are part of an older group than most of our other animals with hair actually eat the same was as animals with hair from a very long time ago ate.

 

References:

Kuznetsov, Alexander N., and Aleksandra A. Panyutina. "First Paleoichnological Evidence for Baby–Riding in Early Mammals." Ameghiniana 55.6 (2018): 668-677. 

 Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S., et al. "Rolling of the jaw is essential for mammalian chewing and tribosphenic molar function." Nature (2019): 1. 

 

 

Pokemon and "Pokemon: Let's Go Eevee" are the properties of Nintendo, Creatures, and Game Freak ; "X Gonna Give It To Ya" by DMX owned by Def Jam and the Universal Music Group.

Direct download: Podcast_158_-_Is_DMX_Eevee_a_Mammal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

<EDITORS NOTE: As discussed in the very beginning of the episode, we had some serious audio issues which meant that the recording quality is not up to our usual quality. We apologize for the degraded audio quality in this episode, but future episodes should not have this issue.>

The gang discusses two papers about the interesting vertebrate remains in Myanmar amber, including a neonate snake and an Enantiornithean bird, and discuss the ecological and evolutionary implications of these fossils. Meanwhile, Curt starts a terrible “theory”, James measures his hands, and Amanda might be responsible for some collusion.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about very thick stuff that sticks together and comes off of trees and often living things end up inside of it and dying. Most of the time, old tree stuff just has small animals who have their hard parts on the outside. This very old tree stuff is very is not like a lot of other old tree stuff because it also has a lot of big animals in it who have hard parts on the inside. Our friends talk about the animals that ended up inside this old tree stuff. One of the animals in the old tree stuff is a baby long animal without legs. This baby long animal with no legs gives us a look at a type of animal we often do not get to see in old rocks and lets us know that some of these old long animals without legs may have lived in trees. The other parts that ended up in this old tree stuff were from an animal who could fly. One of these animals who could fly ended up in the tree stuff, and all we have left are a foot and part of the arm like thing they use to fly. This animal that can fly shows is very different from the animals that can fly today that are brothers and sisters to it. The foot has things coming off of it that are weird. In both of these papers, we can see how this old tree stuff gives us very important facts about how animals that used to be in the world a long long time ago.

 

References:

 Xing, Lida, et al. "A mid-Cretaceous embryonic-to-neonate snake in amber from Myanmar." Science advances 4.7 (2018): eaat5042. 

 Xing, Lida, et al. "A fully feathered enantiornithine foot and wing fragment preserved in mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber." Scientific reports 9.1 (2019): 927. 

 

"Hep Cats" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed by Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_157_-_A_Sticky_Situation_More_Talk_of_Vertebrates_in_Amber.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that look at the links between morphology and ecology. Specifically, they discuss a fossil marine reptile with a very unique looking skull that gives clues to a possible “platypus” like life-habit. However, they also discuss a modern ecological study of crustacean-eating snakes which shows that sometimes unique behaviors can greatly expand the potential prey species available to a predator. Meanwhile, James regales us with tales of an epic battle, Amanda is good at social interactions, and Curt ponders anime betrayals.

<FYI: The second paper has a video supplemental information showing snake feeding strategies. This is exactly what it sounds like. It is interesting, but you have been warned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtMR7I38s1U >

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about animals with small heads and how these animals lived and ate. First, they talk about a thing that lived in the big blue wet place a long long time ago which had a very very large body. Before hand, we didn't know what the head of this thing looked like. But now we found out that it had a really really small head for its really big body. Also, the head is weird, and has these cuts in it that seem to be where a round long mouth thing used to be. Also, it has a strange hard part in the middle of the head which is not stuck to anything. All of these weird head bits are very much like what we see in one weird animal today which looks like it was made from parts of other animals. This has lead people to think that this old animal who lived in the big blue wet place might have eaten in a way that is a lot like this animal we have today that looks like it was made from parts of other animals.

Next, our friends talk about these animals with no legs who eat rock hard animals with cutting hands who sometimes lose their skin. There are lots of types of these animals with no legs, but only a few of these animals with no legs try to eat these rock hard animals with cutting hands who sometimes lose their skin. This paper wanted to know how these animals with no legs go about eating these rock hard animals. It turns out there are many different ways to do it, with some of them pulling off legs, some of them eating the rock hard animals whole, and some of them waiting until these rock hard animals lose their skin. But the really cool thing is that animals with no legs who had very small mouths could actually eat rock hard animals much larger than themselves. By waiting until these rock hard animals lost their skin, these very small animals with no legs could tear their food to small pieces while it was still able to move and breathe. So the way that the animal with no legs lived was very important for deciding which of the rock hard animals it could eat.

 

References:

Cheng, Long, et al. "Early Triassic marine reptile representing the oldest record of unusually small eyes in reptiles indicating non-visual prey detection." Scientific reports 9.1 (2019): 152. 

 Jayne, Bruce C., Harold K. Voris, and Peter KL Ng. "How big is too big? Using crustacean-eating snakes (Homalopsidae) to test how anatomy and behaviour affect prey size and feeding performance." Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 123.3 (2018): 636-650. 

Direct download: Podcast_156_-_Never_Underestimate_the_Little_Snake.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use fossil evidence to interpret physiology and functional morphology of extinct animals. First, we discuss a new study that suggests ichthyosaurs may have evolved blubber to help them regulate their temperatures. Second, we talk about a new study that uses robotic models to test how early tetrapods may have moved. Meanwhile, Amanda mixes caffeine and alcohol, Curt forgets Shane Black movies, and James tries to pull the ultimate mid episode twist. <Editor’s note: James finally gets to starting the podcast roughly 10 minutes in after forcing connections for every minor digression>

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about animals that are very big but not large, and how early animals with four feet walked. The first paper is very good and talks about an animal that looked like an animal that breathes water but actually is an animal that has just skin and breathes air. These animals had thick skin with lots of stuff under the skin like cute animals with hair that live where it's cold. This stuff is very very very easy to see in this old animal. It also has color. But real color not color that might not be real like in other old animals. One friend thinks that this animal might be very good to eat. Our friends also talk about a very good paper that looks at how early animals with four feet walked. This paper has a lot of people all working together and they do a lot of different things that they are all very good at, so this paper does some different things than other papers. They make a not-real animal, both in a computer and in real life. The computer not-real animal is used to make sure the real-life not-real animal can do things right. It looks like a lot of work. Then they make the real-life not-real animal walk and show that it looks like foot marks left a long time ago by early animals with four feet. They make the real-life not-real animal walk a number of different ways to make sure that they are doing the right thing. The real-life not-real animal leaves foot marks that match up just right with the foot marks left a long time ago.  

 

References:

 Nyakatura, John A., et al. "Reverse-engineering the locomotion of a stem amniote." Nature 565.7739 (2019): 351. 

 Lindgren, Johan, et al. "Soft-tissue evidence for homeothermy and crypsis in a Jurassic ichthyosaur." Nature 564.7736 (2018): 359. 

Direct download: Podcast_155_-_But_What_Would_It_Taste_Like.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang gets together to record their first episode back from the holidays. And what better topic to discuss than hyoliths, those strange shelly Cambrian fossils. Specifically, the gang discusses two papers that look at new discoveries of the soft tissue and the hard shells of these hylothis to try and determine the evolutionary placement of hyoliths. Are hyoliths molluscs? Are hyoliths brachiopods? Are they somewhere in between? Meanwhile, Amanda hears some good news, Curt does his best hyolith impression, and James hits some unexpected snags when he discusses the ramifications of his ideal super powers.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about animals that are big at one end and small at another end. They might be close to things with two parts that are good to eat, or they might be close to things with two parts that are not good to eat. Some people have said not long ago that they are more close to the things with two parts that are not good to eat. Our friends look at two papers that talk about these strange animals that are big at one end and small at the other. One paper says that yes, these animals are more close to the things with two parts that are not good to eat, and says that this is shown by the fact that they have a long thing that makes them stick to the ground. Animals with two parts that are good to eat don't have this long thing that makes them stick to the ground, but animals that have two parts that don't aren't good to eat do. Our friends don't really know if this thing is actually a part that makes the strange animals that are big at one end and small at the other stick to the ground, and would like to see some cool pictures taken to help show more things. The second paper tells us that actually these strange things that are bigger at one end and smaller at another are sort of between the things with two parts that are good to eat and the things with two parts that are not good to eat. They do this by looking at the hard parts that make up the strange things that are big at one end and small at the other, and then looking at the hard parts of the animals with two parts (both good and not good to eat). They look at these hard parts very, very close up. It is very cool.  

 

References:

 Sun, Haijing, et al. "Hyoliths with pedicles illuminate the origin of the brachiopod body plan." Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 285.1887 (2018): 20181780. 

 Li, Luoyang, et al. "Homologous shell microstructures in Cambrian hyoliths and molluscs." Palaeontology (2018).

Direct download: Podcast_154_-_Heyo_Hyoliths.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

At the end of a long year, the gang takes a moment to reflect on the various strategies they use to try and keep themselves sane when things get stressful. So please join us as we discuss the joys of knitting, painting, and unconventional youtube video series in this special self care episode of Palaeo After Dark. Honestly though, it's a lot of knitting. Here’s to a safe and happy new year.

Direct download: Podcast_153_-_Holiday_Self_Care_Spectacular.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35pm EDT

The gang looks over two older review papers that are interested in communities and trophic disruption. What is important in keeping communities together and how can stable systems become destabilized? They use these two review papers as a general jumping off point to talk about the difference between a species that is just non-native vs invasive, trophic collapse or cascades, and the importance of systems interactions in keeping communities at a stable equilibrium. Meanwhile, Amanda is always meeting new people, James wants a reboot, and Curt messes up the simplest part of his job.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about the groups that form when many different animals and the green things they eat all live in the same place and share matter. These groups are always changing over time, but they can  reach an even state for a short time. First, the friends talk about what happens when a new animal or green thing moves into the group. Most of the time, this is not a problem. However, sometimes one new type of animal or green thing can cause a lot of problems for the group. Usually, we see this happening when the group has gotten sick because people keep breaking the place where the group lives. We usually tell if a group is sick by the number of different animals and green things in it. The more different things in a group, the better off it usually is. However, sometimes a group that is not sick can still have one of these new types of animals or green things move in and cause problems. This is because the new thing moving in is helped by one of the animals or green things already living in the group. This means that people need to think bigger about which groups might end up having problems with new types of things, because groups that aren't sick may still have problems. People need to be better about not moving around animals and green things that don't usually live there.

Second, the friends talk about the ways in which these groups can become even over time. It turns out that just a few animals in these groups usually keep the entire group even. If these animals are taken away or hurt, then the whole group suddenly changes to a very different group with far less different animals and green things in it. In other words, if just these very important animals are hurt, the whole group can get very sick. Usually, the animals that are most important at keeping the group even are the ones that eat the most. These animals are also the things that people kill because of food or clothes or fear. People need to not kill these things or everything will break down.

 

References:

Estes, James A., et al. "Trophic downgrading of planet Earth." science 333.6040 (2011): 301-306. 

 Bulleri, Fabio, John F. Bruno, and Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi. "Beyond competition: incorporating positive interactions between species to predict ecosystem invasibility." PLoS biology 6.6 (2008): e162. 

Direct download: Podcast_152_-_Community_Reboot.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use new findings to upend some of our previous interpretations of fossil taxa. First, they talk about the new biogeochemical studies that suggest the odd disc-shaped Ediacaran organism, Dickinsonia, might be the first animal in our fossil record. Second, they talk about some new fossil interpretations that challenge our understanding about the evolution of sauropods (the big, long necked dinosaurs). Also, James discusses posture, Curt buries the dinosaur lede, and Amanda finds out she has things to say… later.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends get together to talk about new things that have been found out about some very old things. First, they talk about this round thing that was around a very very very long time ago. This round thing was very funny looking, and a lot of people had different ideas about what this round thing could have been. But some people just did a study to try and found out what the round thing was made of. It turns out, the round thing is made up of matter with 4 bits in rings. These types of matter rings are only found today in all of the animals. So, they then said that this funny looking round thing was probably an animal.

The friends next talk about these very large animals that had very long necks and lived a long time ago. These long necked animals were thought to have gotten really big after they started walking on all four of their feet and their legs became like trees. However, this study found that there were earlier long necked animals that were almost just as big, but were able to spend some time on two feet and their legs were still very much like legs. This means that these long necked animals got big and got small again over time without needing to get really thick tree legs that would make them have to only walk on four feet.

 

References:

Bobrovskiy, Ilya, et al. "Ancient steroids establish the Ediacaran fossil Dickinsonia as one of the earliest animals." Science 361.6408 (2018): 1246-1249. 

 McPhee, Blair W., et al. "A giant dinosaur from the earliest Jurassic of South Africa and the transition to quadrupedality in early sauropodomorphs." Current Biology 28.19 (2018): 3143-3151. 

Direct download: Podcast_151_-_New_Discoveries_Dickinsonia_and_Sauropodomorphs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang gets together to discuss two papers that are sort of… kind of… very loosely held together by… size? First, they discuss a paper looking at size biases in our current biodiversity crisis and comparing it to our past extinction events. Is the present the same as the past? Second, they discuss a paper that looks at the evolution of whales and asks whether there were long term evolutionary trade-offs associated with growing massive in size. Meanwhile, James slowly freezes to death, Amanda becomes “Memento”, and Curt basically messes everything up. So, a typical podcast I suppose. HAPPY SESQUICENTENNIAL!!!

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends look at two papers that try to see how being a big animal can maybe make it better or worse. The first paper asks whether or not being big is a bad thing for animals that live in the big blue wet thing. To do this, they looked at how many big animals who lived in the big blue wet thing died in the past during really really bad times, and then saw if that number was the same of different to the number of animals who live in the big blue wet thing today. It turns out that all the past really really bad times had about the same number of big things dying. However, today there are so many big animals dying in our big blue wet thing. This is probably because people like to eat these animals, and so they eat all the big things for food. So maybe what is happening today is maybe not quite the same as the really really bad times in the past.

The second paper looks at some really big animals with warm blood that breath through a spot near the tops of their heads, and live in the big blue wet thing. These really big animals didn't always start out so big. A long long long time ago, the older mothers and fathers of these really big animals were not always so big. This paper shows how the mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers of these animals changed over time. It turns out that these animals started getting really big very late in time, and that it might have been because of some changes in the big blue wet thing where they live. Also, when some of these animals got really really big, the rest of their sisters and brothers died out. The paper says that maybe these things that get really really big might also now be very slow at making new types of these animals.

 

References:

 Payne, Jonathan L., et al. "Ecological selectivity of the emerging mass extinction in the oceans." Science 353.6305 (2016): 1284-1286. 

 Marx, Felix G., and R. Ewan Fordyce. "Baleen boom and bust: a synthesis of mysticete phylogeny, diversity and disparity." Royal Society Open Science 2.4 (2015): 140434. 

 

Direct download: Podcast_150_-_Podcasting_About_the_Big_Boys.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Come and join us for an extra length episode where we discuss the talks we saw during the 2018 Geological Society of America Meeting at Indianapolis.

Day 2 starts at 0:35:09, Day 3 starts at 2:04:36, and Day 4 starts at 3:28:07.

Direct download: Podcast_149_-_GSA_2018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:05pm EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use the pelvis and spine material from pterosaur fossils to infer locomotion of these extinct flying archosaurs, Specifically, we talk about how muscle attachment structures as well as channels within the bones can be used to infer the mobility of ancient animals. Also, Amanda tries to resist talking about food, James makes boner jokes, and Curt ends up writing odd crossover fan-fiction.

 

Up-Goer Five (James “Oh God I Need an Adult” Edition):

The group look at two papers that are studying the dead animals that can fly but do not have anything covering their bodies. The first paper looks at how the part of the flying animal with nothing on their bodies that holds the legs and also where animals have to touch to make babies (here after: the fuck box) is different in different animals. The paper shows that the fuck box looks different in baby animals to grown animals, and that we need to recognize babies so that we don't make bad ideas about how these animals changed through time. They also show that the fuck boxes in the earliest of these animals look a little more like the fuck boxes of babies, but that they are very definitely actually over 18. They also show that there are at least two different types of fuck boxes in these animals, and this means that these animals would have walked in different ways to each other.

The other paper looks at the fuck box and back of a small animal that could fly that is not covered in stuff and looks at the spaces in it to see how the bits that make the animal go looked like. The spaces for the bits that make the animal go show that it had big legs, and probably was good at walking, even though it was small and would not have needed to be good at walking. It has family that got very big though, and it seems that these big family friends would have been good at walking too.

 

References: 

Hyder, Elaine S., Mark P. Witton, and David M. Martill. "Evolution of the pterosaur pelvis." Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 59.1 (2014): 109-124. 

 Martin‐Silverstone, Elizabeth, Daniel Sykes, and Darren Naish. "Does postcranial palaeoneurology provide insight into pterosaur behaviour and lifestyle? New data from the azhdarchoid Vectidraco and the ornithocheirids Coloborhynchus and Anhanguera." Palaeontology(2018). 

Direct download: Podcast_148_-_Pterosaur_Pelvises.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang returns to one of their favorite pet topics, food! This week, we discuss two papers that investigate what different animals are eating. Specifically, we focus on a paper that uses fossil data to infer the feeding strategies of extinct giant otters, and another paper that seeks to answer the question of whether or not modern bonnethead sharks are omnivorous. Also, Amanda finds her spirit anime character, James workshops new ideas for the podcast at the worst possible time, Curt leads us on a strange aside about bears and wolves, and we all work together to invent the perfect animal.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition)

Our friends talk about what animals eat. First they talk about long four legged animals with hair who have high voices. Some of these long four legged animals from a long time ago were really really big. When we study the hard parts of these really big, long four legged animals, we find that they can break open other really hard things in order to eat them. When we look at the hard parts of living long, four legged animals with high voices, we find that these old big long four legged animals were probably able to break things in different ways than the living animals just because they were so very very big. This shows that long four legged animals in the past could fill different jobs in the world than the living, much smaller four legged animals.

 

Second, the friends look at animals that spend all their time in the water and have lots of inside parts that do not break. These water animals are often thought to eat other animals only. However, these water animals have been shown to eat green things that make food from the sun. People did not know if these water animals meant to eat the green things that make food from the sun, or if they did not mean to. Some people took some of these water animals and had these water animals eat a lot of green things that make food from the sun. The water animals got bigger, and seemed to do well when they were made to eat only these green things. The people decided that this meant the water animals meant to eat the green things and that meant that not all water animals with inside parts that do not break eat only other animals.

 

References:

 Tseng, Z. Jack, et al. "Feeding capability in the extinct giant Siamogale melilutra and comparative mandibular biomechanics of living Lutrinae." Scientific Reports 7.1 (2017): 15225. 


 Leigh, Samantha C., Yannis P. Papastamatiou, and Donovan P. German. "Seagrass digestion by a notorious ‘carnivore’." Proc. R. Soc. B 285.1886 (2018): 20181583. 

Direct download: Podcast_147_-_Otters_and_Sharks_and_Wolves_Oh_My.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at our amazing fossil insect record. One of these studies looks at preserved fly pupae and shows some unexpected evidence of parasitism. The other study tries to understand the properties of tree sap that allows amber to preserve such amazingly detailed fossil insects. Meanwhile, Amanda has a weather catastrophe, Curt can do better, and James is a dream warrior.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about very small things with six legs that are often hard to find after they die. These very small things with six legs might get stuck in tree stuff and die. That is where we will usually find them. The first paper finds very small things with six legs inside the changing space of other even smaller very small things with six legs. These very small things with six legs would break into the changing space of the other even smaller very small things with six legs and eat them. We don't know if they ate them slowly or fast, but they ate them while they were not dead. This is not usual to find after things die so it is very good to find. The other paper talks about how very small things things with six legs get stuck in tree stuff and die. The idea is that if they dry out first maybe they are more probably not going away after getting stuck in tree stuff and dying. This paper says no, drying out will make these very small things with six legs go away more after they get stuck in tree stuff and die. They also look at the very very very small things inside the very small things with six legs and say that these very very very small things help make the very small things with six legs go away. If we make the very very very small things go away with doctor stuff then the very small things with six legs are going to stay when they get stuck in tree stuff and die. 

 

References:

 van de Kamp, Thomas, et al. "Parasitoid biology preserved in mineralized fossils." Nature communications 9.1 (2018): 3325. 


 McCoy, Victoria E., et al. "Unlocking preservation bias in the amber insect fossil record through experimental decay." PloS one 13.4 (2018): e0195482. 

Direct download: Podcast_146_-_Not_All_Insects_Are_in_Amber.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that deal with the origins of biomineralization (how living things make hard minerals to serve as skeletal structures). Specifically, we look at one paper focused on the origins of bone and a second paper focusing on some of the first instances of biomineralization in the fossil record. Also, Curt keeps a promise, James knows how to make a good impression on the neighborhood, and Amanda gets blamed for the actions of her cats.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about things that have hard parts before there were supposed to be hard parts and how important hard parts that are inside of animals first was made. Very early animals that have hard parts before there were supposed to be hard parts are the same as things that do not hard parts. This paper says that it is because the place that they lived had too much of stuff that makes parts hard. These animals took the stuff out of water not because they wanted to, then they had to make it go away or they would die. So they made parts of their body hard. Later on making parts of the body hard was really important and they started doing it more and more even if there wasn't too much stuff in the water that makes parts hard. The second paper talks about how a weird type of hard part that is one of the important hard parts inside animals came to be. Some people think it is a new type of hard part inside of animals, but others say it is not. It turns out it is actually not really new like we thought but is actually a type of important hard part inside animals that is still around today. It is just a type that is not around today anymore.  

 

References:

Wood, Rachel, Andrey Yu Ivantsov, and Andrey Yu Zhuravlev. "First macrobiota biomineralization was environmentally triggered." Proc. R. Soc. B 284.1851 (2017): 20170059. 

 Keating, Joseph N., et al. "The nature of aspidin and the evolutionary origin of bone." Nature ecology & evolution(2018): 1. 

Direct download: Podcast_145_-_Bones_and_Hard_Parts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that investigate the ways that tetrapods return to the sea. It's another opportunity for Amanda talk at length about her favorite topic, CONVERGENCE. Meanwhile, James has ideas about "moral fortitude", Curt makes slightly off references to 80s films, Amanda exercises her desire to be deadly, and Mr. Jowls has some opinions that need to be heard.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about animals with four feet that go back to the water. This is just a reason for our friends to talk about why some animals that are not very close like brothers look very much the same. The first paper says that since the start of the time of large animals with no hair and big teeth, there are more animals with four feet that go back to the water. Many of the animals with four feet that go back to the water look so very the same it is sometimes hard to tell that they are different if you do not look close. They talk about things that make these animals with four feet that go back to the water better for being in water, and how whole big groups of animals do not all change the same, but small groups change faster or more than others. They also talk about how and why these animals are changing. The second paper is about an animal with four feet and a long neck that goes back to the water. It has funny teeth and did not eat very small things like the largest animals living today that have no teeth, even though some things about this animal with four feet and a long neck that goes back to the water that might make you think that they ate very small things. It also has very heavy inside hard parts like big heavy water animals that get hit by people in wood things that go fast. This makes it heavy in water so it does not stay on top of the water but goes down to the bottom. This is how it ate food maybe.   

References:

de Miguel Chaves, Carlos, Francisco Ortega, and Adán Pérez-García. "New highly pachyostotic nothosauroid interpreted as a filter-feeding Triassic marine reptile." Biology Letters 14.8 (2018): 20180130. 

 Kelley, Neil P., and Nicholas D. Pyenson. "Evolutionary innovation and ecology in marine tetrapods from the Triassic to the Anthropocene." Science 348.6232 (2015): aaa3716. 

Direct download: Podcast_144_-_Return_to_the_Sea.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Well, it has finally come to this. After almost 150 episodes under our belts, we've finally produced a podcast where almost no one read any of the papers. This episode was supposed to be about squamate (lizards and snakes) evolution. In particular, we were supposed to look at two papers that tried to determine when squamates must have first diversified. And... we kind of accomplish that. Meanwhile, James shares his weak points, Amanda demonstrates a super power, and Curt laments falling asleep on the couch being the only person to read these papers. We swear the next one will be better.... maybe.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends were supposed to talk about these papers that they read. However, they didn't read these papers and so they spend some of the time trying make it up as they go along. The papers that the friends were supposed to read were about cold, cute things with dry skin and four legs (most of the time). Both of these papers suggest that these cold, cute things probably came about well before we thought they did. In fact, we probably had the first cold, cute things just around or before the time a really bad thing happened that hurt all living things around the world. It was the worst of the bad things to have ever happened. These papers suggest that these cold, cute things might have done alright during these really bad times, and that may be the reason why there are so many cute, cold things around the world today.

 

References:

 Tałanda, Mateusz. "An exceptionally preserved Jurassic skink suggests lizard diversification preceded fragmentation of Pangaea." Palaeontology (2018). 

 Simões, Tiago R., et al. "The origin of squamates revealed by a Middle Triassic lizard from the Italian Alps." Nature 557.7707 (2018): 706. 

Direct download: Podcast_143_-_Squamate_Talk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the origins of the latitudinal diversity gradient, the tendency for higher species diversity in the tropics and lower diversity closer to the poles. Specifically, these studies use comprehensive phylogenetic analyses of modern taxa to try and determine if the current diversity gradient is caused by increased speciation or decreased extinction at the equator. Meanwhile, Amanda shares diseases with her cat, James decides to "treat" himself to a Lime-A-Rita, and Curt just re-enacts scenes from other media.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group looks at two papers that are interested in where animals live. They are looking at a well known thing where more animals live near the middle of the world than at either end. However, it is not clear whether there are more animals in the middle of the world because they have been there longer and so the number of animals has just built up over time, or whether animals in these areas make more types of animals more quickly.

The first study looks at animals that have no legs and live in the water that you can not drink and breath water. This study finds that animals that live in the middle of the world actually make other animals slower than animals that live at either end of the world do, so the reason there are more animals in the middle of the world is probably because they have been there longer. The second study looks at animals with hard outer skin that have six legs and live in big families. This study finds that there is no change across the world in how quickly these animals make more animals, which is different from the first study. However, this does mean that the reason there are more animals in the middle of the world is because they have been there longer, so this agrees with the first study!

 

References: 

 Economo, Evan P., et al. "Macroecology and macroevolution of the latitudinal diversity gradient in ants." Nature communications 9.1 (2018): 1778. 

 Rabosky, Daniel L., et al. "An inverse latitudinal gradient in speciation rate for marine fishes." Nature (2018): 1. 

Direct download: Podcast_142_-_The_LDG.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the effects of climate change on cold adapted species, as well as the possibility of evolutionary rescue as a means of preserving this biodiversity. Also, it gives them all a great excuse to just talk about weasels (and somehow badgers as well). Meanwhile, Curt invents alternative Nintendo canon, James wants a giant robot spider body, and Amanda invents personalities for pictures of weasels.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about how when things get warm it is bad for lots of things that live. Our friends look at long things with hair that need to eat more. These long things with hair that need to eat more are either dark or white. They are white when it is cold and dark when it is warm and that helps them hide. But with things turning more warm every year, it is getting too different for these long things with hair that need to eat more. Now sometimes they change from dark to white when it is still too warm, or, more often, they are still white when it is time to be dark. One paper says that this means the long things with hair that need to eat more get eaten more often by big things with big teeth and pointed fingers and hair, or by big things that fly that have no teeth and pointed fingers and no hair. The other paper says that maybe we need to look at some parts of the world that no one cares about and save them for animals, because these are places where the long things with hair that need to eat more that change color from dark to white and back to dark may be able to live.

 

References: 

 Atmeh, Kamal, Anna Andruszkiewicz, and Karol Zub. "Climate change is affecting mortality of weasels due to camouflage mismatch." Scientific reports 8.1 (2018): 7648. 

 Mills, L. Scott, et al. "Winter color polymorphisms identify global hot spots for evolutionary rescue from climate change." Science 359.6379 (2018): 1033-1036. 

Direct download: Podcast_141_-_Save_the_Weasels.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang returns to a favorite topic, the link between morphology and ecology. Specifically, they look at two studies that use the morphology of ammonites and early fish as a proxy for ecological complexity. Also, James enjoy controlling giant robots, Curt considers the impact of branding, and Amanda tries a new 14% beer with all of the expected consequences. So enjoy as we get completely sidetracked talking about feet, eating zoras, how Amanda is secretly Tien from Dragon Ball, Warhammer 40k, and Deadpool. So, it’s one of those podcasts. <EDITOR’S NOTE: Actual science talk starts at roughly 16 minutes in>

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at the way things look and how that changes what you can do to live. The first paper looks at things with long arms and hard covers that move through the water. The paper talks about how old things with long arms are the same and different to things with long arms that live today. It also looks at how these things with long arms change how they look and what they do as they get older. The paper shows that the old things often changed how they looked and do very different things as they got older. Also, the older things with long arms are doing things that are very different from the new things with long arms.

The next paper talks about other things that move through water and are good to eat. It looks at the mouths of these things that are good to eat to see if the mouths have become more different over time. Some people think that the mouths might have become different very early on, while other people think the mouths slowly got more different over time. This paper says that the mouths in the past were probably not as different as the mouths today, since a new group of things that are good to eat has appeared that have very very different mouths.

 

References:

 Walton, Sonny A., and Dieter Korn. "An ecomorphospace for the Ammonoidea." Paleobiology 44.2 (2018): 273-289. 

 Hill, Jennifer J., et al. "Evolution of jaw disparity in fishes." Palaeontology (2018). 

Direct download: Podcast_140_-_Staying_on_Ecomorphic_Brand.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers on suction feeding among tetrapods, the process by which animals take in water to pull food into their mouths. Specifically they look at two papers showing suction feeding strategies in fossil whales and in modern auks. Meanwhile, Amanda finds new ways to become ill, James finds new things to get angry about, and Curt makes new, very unfortunate deviant art searches.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group look at two papers that deal with animals that suck. The first paper is looking at how animals with hair that live in the place where water can not be drunk got big. One of the thing that these really big animals share is that they eat lots of little food all at once by pushing it through a brush, and it is thought that they got big because they could push so much food through their brush at once that they could eat lots and lots. The study looks at the hard parts of a really old hair covered water animal that got very big, but it does not have the brush and so could not eat lots of small food. Instead, it seems like the animal would have got its food by sucking, and ate lots of food that was not too big but not too small instead by sucking it into their mouth and then pushing the water out. This shows that these animals could get big without pushing lots of small food through a brush, and that the brush pushing eating might have come from sucking first.

The second paper takes small animals that can fly and live on the big water that you can not drink and sees how they ate. These animals eat very small animals as their food and people have looked inside them and found out that they would need to eat a lot of these small animals in order to live. It was said that these flying animals must have eaten lots of small animals at once by pushing them through a small space like a brush like the really big animals that live if the big water you can not drink do, however no one has ever seen these flying animals eat. The study takes some of these flying animals and keeps them in a room with lots of water for a while that is full of their food and watches how they eat. It turns out that these flying animals suck too, and they suck up their small food by seeing them and sucking them in one or a few at a time. This sucking is just like the sucking that the old really big animal with hair and no legs would have done. This also suggests that the flying animals do not need to eat quite as much as the people that looked inside them thought.

 

References: 

Enstipp, Manfred R., et al. "Almost like a whale–First evidence of suction-feeding in a seabird." Journal of Experimental Biology (2018): jeb-182170. 

 Fordyce, R. Ewan, and Felix G. Marx. "Gigantism precedes filter feeding in baleen whale evolution." Current Biology(2018). 

Direct download: Podcast_139_-_Whales_and_Birds_Suck.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that use various lines of evidence to try to determine what Cambrian animals (particularly trilobites) might have eaten. Which of these animals were detritivores or coprophagous, and which animals might have been active predators? Meanwhile, James tries to keep a schedule, Amanda finds a way to time travel 10 minutes, and Curt fights against nature.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about very old things with no inside hard bits that ate shit and also how stomachs grow in cute round hard animals with lots of parts. The papers look at very old times and how all things are put together living in the same place and how they all work together in this place and time. At first our friends talk about pieces of shit that show how very old things with no inside hard bits ate food and how that means they fit into this place and time. The shit is found in the ends of where the very old things with no inside hard bits lived. There are other animals found with the shit that might be eating the shit or also might be part of the shit, meaning that the very old things with no inside hard bits ate them. They also say that these pieces of shit that have a different kind of animal that has not been well known until not long ago means that these different animals were more like a good-to-eat animal than a not-good-to-eat animal. One of our friends falls asleep but it is not because the paper is not fun. Then our friends talk about how the head-stomach gets bigger in these cute round animals with lots of parts. They think a bigger head-stomach means that these cute round animals with lots of parts ate other animals and not just stuff on the ground. 

 

References:

Lerosey‐Aubril, Rudy, and John S. Peel. "Gut evolution in early Cambrian trilobites and the origin of predation on infaunal macroinvertebrates: evidence from muscle scars in Mesolenellus." Palaeontology (2018). 

 Kimmig, Julien, and Brian R. Pratt. "Coprolites in the Ravens Throat River LAGERSTÄTTE of Northwestern Canada: Implications for the Middle Cambrian Food Web." Palaios 33.4 (2018): 125-140. 

Direct download: Podcast_138_-_Cambrian_Food.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss several papers that detail the changes necessary for a terrestrial tetrapod to  transition into aquatic marine lifestyle. They focus on two examples, fossil sloths and fossil crocodyliforms. Also, James discusses some unconventional forms of hydraulic fracking, Curt imagines the sloth action film, Amanda details her plans to get "swole", and everyone has a lively "debate" on the correct pronunciation of the word sloth.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

This week the group look at two studies of groups of animals that have moved into the big water that is full of little rocks that make food great but are bad for you if you have too much and also make it really hard for animals that are not used to it to live in the water. The first group are angry animals without hair that are around today and usually live in water that is found on land, but a long time ago some of them moved into the bit water full of little rocks. These angry animals began to change from the ones that live in the land water, and their land feet turn into water feet and their back end grows to be like a water animal's back end usually looks like. The study looks at the left overs of animals from a long time ago that show what parts of the inside of the head looked like. These show that once they moved in to the big water they grew little balls in their head that let them deal with the little rocks that are all in the big water. This shows that they spent all their time in the big water and did not go back to the land water, and that they could eat food that lived in the big water without dealing with the small rocks, such as small animals with no hard parts that had many arms. The second group are big animals with hair that are very slow today. While these slow animals are small today and live in trees, in the past they could be big and one group of them went to live in water. The study looks at the hard parts that keep the animals from falling over and found that once they move into water, the hard parts start to fill up and get more heavy. The study looks at the hard parts of other groups that go back into the water and find that they make their hard parts heavy too.

 

References:

 Fernández, Marta, and Zulma Gasparini. "Salt glands in the Jurassic metriorhynchid Geosaurus: implications for the evolution of osmoregulation in Mesozoic marine crocodyliforms." Naturwissenschaften 95.1 (2008): 79-84. 

 Fernández, Marta, and Zulma Gasparini. "Salt glands in a Tithonian metriorhynchid crocodyliform and their physiological significance." Lethaia 33.4 (2000): 269-276. 

 Amson, Eli, Guillaume Billet, and Christian de Muizon. "Evolutionary adaptation to aquatic lifestyle in extinct sloths can lead to systemic alteration of bone structure." Proc. R. Soc. B 285.1878 (2018): 20180270. 

Direct download: Podcast_137_-_Sloth_vs_Sloth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses coprolites (fossil feces) and the interesting information that we can glean from them. Specifically, they talk about two papers which look at moa coprolites from New Zealand to determine aspects of the New Zealand ecology before human intervention. But the powers of the internet conspire to destroy our intrepid podcasting trio, ultimately claiming Amanda's internet for nearly half of the episode. Can James and Curt survive having to talk to each other for a whole 30 minutes? Tune in to find out.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Today the friends talk about shit. Yes of all the words for what comes out of your bottom, the only one of them that we can use in this write up is shit. Think about that. What does that mean about us? As a people? As a world?

Anyways, there is a lot we can learn from shit. The friends look at how shit from large angry things that are brother and sister to things that could fly can tell us about the world these angry things lived in. These large angry things are now dead. But we still have a lot of their shit lying around, and we can use it to find out what they ate. What they find is that these angry things might have ate some things that help green things which make food from the sun to grow, but they probably did not move those green things around in their shit. They also find that there were animals that lived in the angry things which died when the angry things died. All in all, it turns out there is a lot that shit can tell us.

 

References: 

Carpenter, Joanna K., et al. "An avian seed dispersal paradox: New Zealand's extinct megafaunal birds did not disperse large seeds." Proc. R. Soc. B 285.1877 (2018): 20180352. 

 Boast, Alexander P., et al. "Coprolites reveal ecological interactions lost with the extinction of New Zealand birds." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018): 201712337. 

Direct download: Podcast_136_-_The_Haunted_Podcast_Returns.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses a few papers that illustrate how different evolutionary processes can generate very similar morphological structures. Yes, we're talking about convergence again. But this time, things get kind of weird in the second half. Meanwhile, Amanda wrestles with the love of her cats, Curt understands his place in the group, and James invents a brand new way for birds to fly.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 

Today our friends talk about things that are not close but look a lot like each other. The first part is about animals that eat other things that are living. They say that sometimes it is the world around things that make them look like each other. Sometimes it is things like how much rain there is or how fast they grow up. So it is not always the fact that they all eat the same thing. But it might be. More things need to be done to see more about animals that eat other things. The second part is about things that fly and have no teeth, but also big angry animals with big teeth and no hair. They say that there is a part of where the leg ends that points behind that has parts that make the back part of the animal move, and that it is part of how the big angry animals with big teeth and no hair breathe. But they don't say how they figure this out very well. They confuse our friends. Then they say that this part of where the leg ends that points behind and the parts that make the back part of the animal move are important because they help the animals that can fly with no teeth fly the best of any big animal that can fly. They say it is important for the animals that can fly with no teeth to jump up when they fly. Our friends do not agree.

 

References:

Tseng, Z. Jack, and John J. Flynn. "Structure-function covariation with nonfeeding ecological variables influences evolution of feeding specialization in Carnivora." Science advances 4.2 (2018): eaao5441. 

 Macaluso, Loredana, and Emanuel Tschopp. "Evolutionary changes in pubic orientation in dinosaurs are more strongly correlated with the ventilation system than with herbivory." Palaeontology (2018). 

Direct download: Podcast_135_-_Competing_Convergences.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look how the environmental stresses caused from warming temperatures can affect fish. Specifically, we look at a paleontological study focusing on the Permian and Late-Triassic extinctions (often considered to be runaway greenhouse scenarios) as well as a modern study looking at the impact modern global climate change might have on goby fishes. Also, James offers to train Amanda, Curt starts a brand new business venture, and Amanda decides to pump pure sugar into her veins. Also, apologies for the fact that James has finally finished Dragon Ball Z and naturally keeps finding patterns.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends talk about papers that show how changes around the world can cause animals that move through the water and breathe water to die. The first paper talks about animals that move through the water and breathe water that died a very long time ago, during a time when nearly everything died. During this time when nearly everything died a lot of really bad things happened, like the world got a lot warmer and the water became hard to breathe. During this time, it appears that some of the animals that move through the water and breathe water actually did really well, while almost all of the other animals living in the water did really bad. The animals that did really well would eventually become a family we see today that has big teeth, eats a lot, and has soft parts inside. The paper says that maybe the way these animals lived help them get through this bad time when nearly everything died.

The second paper looks at animals that move through water and breathe water which are around today, and how these animals are being hurt by how much warmer it has been getting each year. They took some of these animals and raised them for a year in a warm home. Then they took the animals and made it warmer and saw if the animals were happy. When the animals got sad, they stopped and looked at how warm it got. They found that lots of things changed how warm the animals could get before they got sad. Animals that were brother and sister got sad in the same kinds of ways. Also, how warm the animals got in the year of training changed when the animals got sad. They showed that there were a lot of things to consider when we want to know how warm these animals can get before they become sad.

 

References:

 Vázquez, Priscilla, and Matthew E. Clapham. "Extinction selectivity among marine fishes during multistressor global change in the end-Permian and end-Triassic crises." Geology45.5 (2017): 395-398. 

 Di Santo, Valentina, and Phillip S. Lobel. "Body size and thermal tolerance in tropical gobies." Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology 487 (2017): 11-17. 

Direct download: Podcast_134_-_Training_Fish_in_the_Hyperbolic_Time_Chamber.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses the various ways that injuries and diseases can be preserved in the fossil record, as well as the information these pathologies can give us on ancient biodiversity and behavior. Also, Amanda is coerced into accepting a delivery, James discusses the ways in which he sizes up the world, and Curt makes cutting comparisons between fictional and real life characters.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about things that do not look right because the animal is broken or sick. First our friends talk about animals that are good to eat that have many arms. Some of these animals that are good to eat that have many arms are very old and do not live anymore. These animals that are gone have a rock inside their body that used to be on the outside but is now on the inside. One of these animals that are good to eat that have many arms has one of these rocks inside them and the rock has been hurt. We can look inside the rock where it has been hurt and see that it is not full of rock. We think that this rock was hurt by a little animal with many legs and a soft body that often makes water animals today sick or hurt. We think that this little animal with many legs and a soft body might have made this animal that is good to eat with many arms so sick it could not eat and died. Second our friends talk about an animal with four short legs and no hair. This animal with four short legs and no hair has a long behind. This long behind can sometimes fall off and the animal is fine. A big angry animal will eat the the behind and leave the animal with four short legs and no hair alone. Our friends talk about a very old animal with four short legs and no hair that had a behind that could fall off. It is the same as some living animals with four short legs and no hair, but it is also not the same. But it means that maybe the very oldest of these animals with four short legs and no hair could leave their behinds for big angry animals to eat, and they could run away and be safe, and so this thing that these animals can do is not a new thing but an old thing that has been around a long time, and not being able to do it is the new thing. 

 

References:

LeBlanc, A. R. H., et al. "Caudal autotomy as anti-predatory behaviour in Palaeozoic reptiles." Scientific reports 8.1 (2018): 3328. 

 Hoffmann, René, et al. "A Late Cretaceous pathological belemnite rostrum with evidence of infection by an endoparasite." Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie-Abhandlungen287.3 (2018): 335-349. 

Direct download: Podcast_133_-_Long-Standing_Pathologies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang spends their 5th anniversary podcast discussing the evolution and distribution of early tetrapods. So basically, we messed up. But at least you can enjoy some insightful discussions about how to improve Sabrina the Teenage Witch. That's something, right?

 

Right?

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group forget and barely care about their day which comes around every year for five times now. This time they talk about animals with four legs at around the time where they just got out of the water and lived on land before a lot of them died when the things that are not animals and are green and make air went away and everything got less wet.

The first paper looks at when these wet areas went away and whether these early animals with four legs ended up with fewer animals that are found over a wider area or lots of animals that are each found in only one area each. It had been though that this change in how much wet made these animals got moved into lots of small areas, but the new paper shows that actually animals with four legs got a lot moved to much wider areas, but that this is because the animals with four legs that lived in water became much less easier to be found while animals with four legs that live on land and have balls that their babies live in early on that don't need water take over and change how animals with four legs lived on the big ball of rock we live on.

The second paper looks at where animals with four legs lived before and after the bad time where almost all life died. The paper is interested at whether more animals lived on the middle of the outside of the big ball of rock that we all lived on or whether more of them lived near the top or the bottom of the outside of the big ball of rock. The paper is looking at whether there really is a time where animals with four legs do not live at the middle of the big ball of rock during the bad times where everything was dying. The paper looks at this by seeing how much the rocks lie to us and hide animals that were really there. One way they do this is by looking at tracks as well as dead bodies. This leads to shouting but both people are right and it is okay. The paper shows that while there was some time where there were less animals with four legs in the middle of the big ball of rock, they were still there and so maybe there were just less of them than before but they were not all dead.

 

References:

 Dunne, Emma M., et al. "Diversity change during the rise of tetrapods and the impact of the ‘Carboniferous rainforest collapse’." Proc. R. Soc. B. Vol. 285. No. 1872. The Royal Society, 2018. 

 Bernardi, Massimo, Fabio Massimo Petti, and Michael J. Benton. "Tetrapod distribution and temperature rise during the Permian–Triassic mass extinction." Proc. R. Soc. B. Vol. 285. No. 1870. The Royal Society, 2018. 

 

Additional music by Russell Watson used in accordance with fair use under the creative commons license. Music was modified from its original form.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/

Direct download: Podcast_132_-_Weve_Been_Doing_This_For_Five_Years.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the complex evolutionary history of sauropod dinosaurs. In particular, these papers try to determine how sauropods geography might have affected their evolutionary history. Also, James learns some valuable lessons about hot tub safety, Curt mindlessly quotes Futurama, Amanda discusses the surprising skills of her cats, and everyone has a deeply disturbing realization about the Flintstones.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

This week the group looks at two papers that focus on big stupid angry animals with no hair. Both papers are looking at the type of big stupid angry animals with no hair that were very big and had thick legs and really long necks. The papers are interested in where the big angry animals with really long necks lived, and how where they lived change over time.

The first paper looks at a new big angry animal with a long neck from the place where food is big and people are armed. The reason this animal is interesting is because it is part of a group that was thought to all be dead but the new animal shows that they lived longer than we thought. All the older animals in its group came from a long way away, and so this animal shows that the group lived longer than we thought and that they did so by moving into a new place.

The second paper also looks at a big angry animal with a long neck from the hot place with the long water running through it. This animal is part of a group we find on lots of other places, but not here. This animal shows that the group made it into the very large land where the rains are, even though a different group of animals with very long necks are usually there.

 

References

 Sallam, Hesham M., et al. "New Egyptian sauropod reveals Late Cretaceous dinosaur dispersal between Europe and Africa." Nature ecology & evolution (2018): 1. 

 Royo-Torres, Rafael, et al. "Descendants of the Jurassic turiasaurs from Iberia found refuge in the Early Cretaceous of western USA." Scientific Reports 7.1 (2017): 14311. 

Direct download: Podcast_131_-_Would_Sauropod_Ribs_Be_Tasty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use ichnology (the study of traces left by animals) as evidence for biological diversity in regions where body fossils are not preserved. Also, Amanda and James have a vigorous debate about nouns while Curt retreats to his happy place, and everybody kind of vaguely remembers that thing from that one episode of Dragon Ball.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about things that were once there but aren't now but you can still see where they were. Using these things that you can see where they once were, we can tell what these things were doing and what kind of place they lived in. A lot of the time we find the things that you can see where they once were, but we don't actually find the things themselves. That can mean a lot of different things. It might mean that the place they were living in was very small and didn't have a lot of space for lots of things to live in. It might mean that the place was not very good to live in and only a few things could live there. Our friends talk about a paper that says that things living in this one place were very different than things that probably lived in other places because the space was very different. Our friends also look at a paper that says someone found something of an animal that was once there but is not there now, and at the same time we have actual body pieces of the animal, just in different places. They think this thing that was left behind when the animal was once there but isn't there now means that this animal was in water. People don't know if this animal first showed up on land or in water and it seems like this should mean they first show up in water. These things that were made by something that was once there but isn't there anymore is really very good for showing things that might be around but we don't know for sure. Using these things we can show that sometimes things were around before we actually thought they were when we look at body pieces.

 

References:

 Reolid, Matías, et al. "Ichnological evidence of semi-aquatic locomotion in early turtles from eastern Iberia during the Carnian Humid Episode (Late Triassic)." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 490 (2018): 450-461. 

 Marriott, Susan B., Lance B. Morrissey, and Robert D. Hillier. "Trace fossil assemblages in Upper Silurian tuff beds: evidence of biodiversity in the Old Red Sandstone of southwest Wales, UK." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 274.3-4 (2009): 160-172. 

Direct download: Podcast_130_-_Trace_Fossil_Diversity_is_Over_9000.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss a recent paper which suggests that pollinating butterflies and moths may have evolved well before the evolution of flowering plants (angiosperms). Curt seizes this opportunity to force them all to read about exaptation. Meanwhile, James has some unique ideas about automotive safety and Amanda demonstrates her amazing Google skills in the face of uncertainty. 

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 

Today our friends talk about a thing that is very important. Many people have an idea that a thing came about because it had a use. But it might be, sometimes, that a thing came about because it was together with a thing that had a use. Or maybe it even came about because it just did. Maybe not everything has to come about because it has a use. One of the things our friends read comes up with a name for this idea. And it talks about things that mean maybe that idea is right. And it also talks a lot about words and one of our friends thinks that that part is not fun. The other thing our friends read is about little things that fly and are colored pretty. These little pretty-colored things that fly are thought to have come about along with green things that smell good. But it seems that maybe these pretty-colored things that fly come about a lot earlier than the green things that smell good. This is just like that idea where a thing has come about even though it had no use for it yet.

 

References:

Gould, Stephen Jay, and Elisabeth S. Vrba. "Exaptation—a missing term in the science of form." Paleobiology 8.1 (1982): 4-15. 

 van Eldijk, Timo JB, et al. "A Triassic-Jurassic window into the evolution of Lepidoptera." Science advances 4.1 (2018): e1701568. 

Direct download: Podcast_129_-_Curt_Made_Us_Talk_About_Exaptation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang talks about conservation paleoecology; the study of the fossil record to inform modern conservation efforts. Specifically, they look at two papers, one which is an overview of the current issues in the field, and the other which focuses on how mass extinctions can change the distribution of species on the planet. Also, James has very strong opinions about the most recent Splatoon 2 Splatfest, Amanda nearly breaks an arm, and Curt tries in vain to hold everything together.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends talk about how life is dying. A lot of people think life is dying faster than we think it should and that people might be causing life to die faster. The friends talk about how we can use the past to see how quickly life died in the past in order to let us know if the dying we see right now is a problem. There are a lot of people who have looked at the past and they find that people have changed the land and water and air a great deal. These changes do seem to have helped make life die faster. But there are things we can try to do to try and stop this, and keep more life in the land, water, and air. And we can use the past to understand what land, water, or air we should put the most work behind to really stop life from dying so quickly.

The friends then talk about a time when a lot of life died at once. At this time, a big change happened in the air, land, and water. At that time, most animals in the land, water, and air died off, but some animals did really well. They seemed to like the changes and moved all around. These animals that moved all around might have changed how life gets better after dying a lot. This suggests that animals moving all around might be something we see during times when big changes in the land, air, and water cause life to start dying really fast.

 

References: 

 Button, David J., et al. "Mass extinctions drove increased global faunal cosmopolitanism on the supercontinent Pangaea." Nature communications 8.1 (2017): 733. 

 Barnosky, Anthony D., et al. "Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems." Science 355.6325 (2017): eaah4787. 

Direct download: Podcast_128_-_Conservation_Paleoecology.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates the new year by just talking about birds. Specifically, they look at two papers that use the evolutionary history of birds to explore if geographic changes or ecological adaptation controlled the macroevolutionary history of birds. Meanwhile, Amanda has some technical difficulties, James becomes Legion "Destroyer of Minds", and Curt is a dick to his friends. <Editor's Note: If you want to jump to the science, the discussion actually begins at 13 mins 10 secs>

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends look at two papers that both talk about animals that do not have hair or hard skin but rather have big pointed things on their face and can fly. The first paper looks at animals that do not have hair or hard skin but have big pointed things on their face and can fly and wants to see if these animals changed over time in and if they also changed the place they are from while changing over time. They say that most of the flying animals with no hair or hard skin but big pointed things on their face lived further down on the world until all the big angry animals with no hair that would eat them died and went away. Once all of those big angry animals were gone, the flying animals with no hair or hard skin but big pointed things on their face started moving all over the world and now live all over. They also say that they moved in a way that is easy to see and that it goes with whether it is warm or cold or wet or dry. The second paper also looks at these flying animals with no hair or hard skin but big pointed things on their face, and it talks about the "big change over time" idea. They use the big pointed thing on the animals face to tell this story. They say that the small groups of these animals changed over time in a different way than the big groups of these animals. They say that this means that the "big change over time" idea is right and that is what is going on to these flying animals with no hair or hard skin but with big pointed things on their face.

 

References:

 Cooney, Christopher R., et al. "Mega-evolutionary dynamics of the adaptive radiation of birds." Nature 542.7641 (2017): 344-347. 

 Claramunt, Santiago, and Joel Cracraft. "A new time tree reveals Earth history’s imprint on the evolution of modern birds." Science Advances 1.11 (2015): e1501005. 

Direct download: Podcast_127_-_Lets_Just_Talk_About_Birds.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates the end of the year by taking another break to play Fiasco, a crime/noir storytelling game by Bully Pit Games.

A lone figure stands on the rooftops, staring down at the quiet night streets of Minneapolis below. For a moment, the hero stands tall, silhouetted against the night sky, looking like a gargoyle protecting the city, his city, from the crime that seeks to destroy it. A slight twinge of discomfort from a stiff back causes his shoulders to shrug, and he mutters to himself, "Eh, not worth it." He immediately steps off his perch on the roof's edge and lies down next an extra large meat-lovers pizza. As he ravenously devours nearly the entire pie, the low drone of the city below gradually becomes replaced by the sounds of a struggle; a woman's scream, the shuffling of footfalls, the low dull impact of a baseball bat to flesh. None of which deters the strange vigilante's steady consumption of pizza.

The sound of a familiar yell catches the lone "hero's" attention, "A little help down here?!?!?" He sits up, slowly puts a half eaten slice of pizza down, and loudly sighs. "Fine..." and he casually jumps off the four story building.

"The People of Minneapolis VS The Alchemist" is a story of super heroes, deception, betrayal, existentialism, and hipster heroics in the justice system. 

"Undaunted" and "Black Vortex" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_126_-_The_People_of_Minneapolis_VS_The_Alchemist.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that investigate the impact that the geographic occupation of a species has on its evolution, both in the distant past and in modern systems. Also, James pops some pills, Amanda takes a deep dive into Deviant Art, and Curt acts as a passive enabler.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

This week our friends talk about how many animals there are in the whole world. They also talk about where animals live all over the world. The first paper does a good job talking about both where animals live and how many animals there are. It talks about many, many times when there were lots of new kinds of animals showing up, and also times when there were not many animals showing up. They also talk about times when it looks like many animals died but maybe they didn't. There are different ways to talk about how many animals there are in the whole world. Whether there are all kinds of different animals but they are the same all over, whether there are all kinds of different animals and they are all different all over, and whether there are some animals that are only found only in little places. The other paper talks about how when new kinds of animals show up that it is important to look at where the new animals are from, and whether they can talk to other animals that are like their brothers and sisters. If they can talk to other animals that are like their brothers and sisters, then they are not new kinds of animals. But if they can't talk to the animals that are like their brothers and sisters, then they are a new kind of animal. This paper thought that maybe it would be a kind of important piece of the animal that would make it new and not able to talk to its brother and sister animals. But it turns out that where the animal is from is very important, and it seems like if the animal lives far away and can't talk to its brother and sister animals for even a short time, it will become a new kind of animal. So we know that where animals are from is important, and if where they are from means they can't talk to brother and sister animals, that is really big for making new kinds of animals.

 

References:

 Worsham, McLean LD, et al. "Geographic isolation facilitates the evolution of reproductive isolation and morphological divergence." Ecology and Evolution

 Stigall, Alycia L., et al. "Biotic immigration events, speciation, and the accumulation of biodiversity in the fossil record." Global and Planetary Change 148 (2017): 242-257. 

Direct download: Podcast_125_-_Feeling_Isolated_Biogeography_and_Evolution.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that complicate our understanding of some important fossils. Specifically, we focus on abiotic "stromatolites" and cryptic tool marks on bones. Also, Curt comes up with a book title, James discusses his workout regiment, and Amanda gets very excited about all things Michigan. 

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends talk about things that look like something but are actually maybe something else. First, they look at things that layer on top of each other. These things that layer on top of each other were found in rocks from a long long time ago and were thought to be made from living things that eat light. However, we can also make these things that layer on top of each other with a paint can. This means that we need to watch out when we find these things that layer on top of each other a long long time ago because they may not always be made by these living things that eat light.

Second, the friends look at marks on the hard parts in animals that hold them up. Some people thought the marks on the hard parts in animals that hold them up were made by people cutting those animals to pieces. However, other people say the marks on the hard parts in animals that hold them up could be made by animals with long noses who lie in water and you should never smile at. These animals that you should never smile at who jump out of the water can cut marks on the hard parts of animals that look very very much the same as the ones that come from people cutting animals to pieces. This means we need to watch out when seeing these marks because they may or may not show that people were there.

 

References:

Sahle, Yonatan, Sireen El Zaatari, and Tim D. White. "Hominid butchers and biting crocodiles in the African Plio–Pleistocene." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017): 201716317. 

 McLoughlin, N., L. A. Wilson, and M. D. Brasier. "Growth of synthetic stromatolites and wrinkle structures in the absence of microbes–implications for the early fossil record." Geobiology 6.2 (2008): 95-105. 

 

Direct download: Podcast_124_-_A_Second_Opinion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers with differing opinions about whether or not extinction events in the fossil record follow a periodic pattern. Also, James is dealing with very reputable people, Curt forces people to talk about things they don't care about, and Amanda becomes VERY interested in energy conservation.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition): 

This week the group looks at two papers seeing if really bad times when lots of things died happen on a time table or if really bad times when lots of things died do not run on time and came come any time they want. The first paper says the death train does not run on time and that we do note see a time table that it sticks to. They state that past papers that have tried to see the when the death train comes have made time tables out of chance visits and that we can not use these time tables because we may be waiting for the death train a long time and then find that two death trains show up at once. The other papers in the past said that this time table is caused by the stars and that things coming from space are making the death train run on time. The new paper says that this is not true because there is no time table and the stars can't control a time table that is not there.

The second paper responds to the first paper and says that the time table is there and the way the first paper checked the time table was too mean. The second paper points out that the death train can be early or late and still be running on a time table. They look at the same numbers as the first paper and say that the death train is just early or late quite a bit but still runs on its time table.

 

References: 

Erlykin, Anatoly D., et al. "Mass extinctions over the last 500 myr: an astronomical cause?." Palaeontology 60.2 (2017): 159-167.

Melott, Adrian L., and Richard K. Bambach. "Comments on: Periodicity in the extinction rate and possible astronomical causes–comment on mass extinctions over the last 500 myr: an astronomical cause?(Erlykin et al.)." Palaeontology 60.6 (2017): 911-920.

Direct download: Podcast_123_-_Periodicity_of_Extinction.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

James and Curt are joined by friends of the show Brendan and Carlie to discuss the talks presented at the Geological Society of American annual meeting in Seattle, WA. Day 2 starts at 1:12:43. Day 3 starts at 3:05:06. Day 4 starts at 3:59:34. Videos of each day are available on youtube under the channel Palaeo After Dark

 

Additional music: "Puzzle Pieces 2 (I Don't Believe in Ghosts)" by The Mixtapes and distributed by Paper + Plastic:

http://paperplastick.limitedrun.com/products/551888-mixtapes-these-are-us

Direct download: Podcast_122_-_GSA_2017_We_Have_a_Fridge.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use fossil evidence to determine the past ecology and niche-space of past organisms, specifically dodos and hyenas. How can we use information from bones to interpret diet, life cycle, and behaviors of long dead animals? Also, James decides to start Skynet on the grounds that they will let him become a weather controlling tiger-bot, while Amanda and Curt draw hard lines in the sand about Don Bluth cartoons. 

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group looks at two papers that are interested in seeing how things lived. The first is cutting into the inside hard parts of animals with that should fly but could not fly and are in the same family as animals that can fly and live with people in cities. These animals died when people came to their rock in the big water that you can not drink with lots of bad friends. The people that came to the home of these animals did not care about them much, and so the words we have from them are not very good and often do not agree. The study looks at the hard parts and the words of the people to see how these animals lived. They show that the animals grew quickly and changed their clothes a lot over the year which is why different people thought they looked different, and that they laid their round baby boxes during the part of the year when there was not bad sky stuff.

The next study looks at the teeth of cats that want to be dogs that are today only found in the big place where the rains are down but in the past were found in many places that people lived. They want to see if these cats that want to be dogs eat the same thing at different points in time. They show that the cats that want to be dogs eat different things today than they used to, and that maybe this is because there are very big cats that are definitely cats in the big place where the rains are down that stop them getting other food.

 

References:

 DeSantis, Larisa RG, et al. "Assessing niche conservatism using a multiproxy approach: dietary ecology of extinct and extant spotted hyenas." Paleobiology 43.2 (2017): 286-303. 

 Angst, D., et al. "Bone histology sheds new light on the ecology of the dodo (Raphus cucullatus, Aves, Columbiformes)." Scientific Reports 7 (2017). 

Direct download: Podcast_121_-_Reconstructing_the_Niche.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that deal with different examples of convergence. The first discusses how brood parasite female cuckoos mimic birds of prey, and the second paper discusses convergent morphological evolution in early tetrapodomorph fishes. What do these two papers have in common. you may ask? Both discussions have Amanda cheerfully yelling the word "Convergence!"

Meanwhile, Amanda narrowly avoids drunk Amazon shopping, James demands truth in advertising, Curt doesn't believe that these papers are remotely related in any way, and everybody gets very easily distracted by the prospect of fire-belching furnaces and knife-wielding murderbots. <EDITOR'S NOTE: The group start talking about science about 10 minutes in>

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition): 

The group looks at two papers where the same things keep happening to many different animals. The first paper looks at an animal that can fly and is a bad mom that leaves the kids with some other flying mom so she does not have to raise them. This flying bad mom can pretend to be something else and kind of looks like something else that is big and angry. When the flying bad mom drops the kids at the home of the other flying mom, she pretends to be a very big and angry flying thing by screaming as she leaves the home of the other flying mom. People showed that the sound of the bad mom screaming sounds just like the big angry thing she is pretending to be, which makes the other flying moms scared so they do not know that the kids have been left at their home. The kids then eat the other flying moms out of house and home.

The other paper looks at animals that are in the water but could sometimes come out on the land from a long time ago. As time went on, more of these animals spent more time out on land than on the water, and they also changed how they looked. This made us think that the things spending more time on land changed in ways for them to spend more time on the land. But this new animal shows that those changes happened in things that didn't spend as much time on land, so maybe the changes aren't just because things were on the land so much.

 

References:

York, J. E., & Davies, N. B. (2017). Female cuckoo calls misdirect host defences towards the wrong enemy. Nature https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0279-3

Zhu, Min, et al. "A Devonian tetrapod-like fish reveals substantial parallelism in stem tetrapod evolution." Nature Ecology & Evolution (2017): 1.

Direct download: Podcast_120_-_Something_Something_Convergence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the complex issues surrounding the identification of sexual dimorphism in archosaurs (e.g. birds, dinosaurs, and alligators/crocodiles). Meanwhile, James has very strong opinions about Fat Tire beer, Amanda becomes lost in independent research, and Curt accidentally tears the podcast apart.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group looks at two papers that want to see whether animals that lived a long time ago are boys or girls. The first paper is looking at lots of small animals that could fly and had hard mouths. We find them in small, not so small, and big, and it has been suggested that the big ones were boys, the not so small ones were girls, and the small ones were young. Some of them have big back ends, and it was thought that maybe those that had big back ends were boys and those that did not have big back ends were girls. The paper thinks that maybe both boys and girls had big back ends, because they find big back ends on the young ones. The group however have seen another paper that thinks that boys did have big back ends and girls did not have big back ends and the small ones were actually a different type of flying animal with hard mouths.

The second paper is looking at trying to tell if big angry animals without hair were boys or girls. To do this they look at big angry animals that are around today and animals with hard mouths that are too big to fly that are around today. They show that big angry animals and animals with hard mouths that can sometimes fly grow different, and if you did not know which ones were boys or girls it is very different to tell which of the big angry animals are boys and girls. They show that most big angry animals without hair from a long time ago grow like big angry animals today, and so we should wait for a lot of facts before deciding if they are boys or girls, and that when we have thought we have found different things between boys and girls in the past we may have been looking at grown ups and babies.

 

References: 

 Hone, David WE, and Jordan C. Mallon. "Protracted growth impedes the detection of sexual dimorphism in non‐avian dinosaurs." Palaeontology 60.4 (2017): 535-545. 

 Peters, Winfried S., and Dieter Stefan Peters. "Life history, sexual dimorphism and ‘ornamental’feathers in the Mesozoic bird Confuciusornis sanctus." Biology letters (2009): rsbl20090574. 

Direct download: Podcast_119_-_Dimorphic_Dinosaurs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that attempt to resolve the taxonomic placement of animals with complex or confusing morphologies. Also, they somehow go off on a tangent about careers in academia, publish or perish, and the various lengths people can go to try and maximize their research output. Meanwhile, Amanda has some issues with her light sockets, James tries to pass off "facts"about rats, Curt makes references to 90's cartoons, and everyone greets our new guest, the "Pony".

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition): 

The group looks at two studies where animals that were thought to be one thing were shown to be another. The first paper looks at a very old animal known from three parts. One part was thought to be a soft animal that moved in the water and had the same thing for a mouth and a bottom, another part was thought to be an animal that hid in a hard house and grabbed food as it passed, and another was thought to be something that has a soft thing in it for sending news from end to end. The new study shows that these are all the same thing, and that is part of a big group of animals that can move in water or stick to rocks and attack things with small arms.
The other study is looking at big angry animals with no hair, especially one big angry animal that it is not known where it should go. The big angry animal is not that big and not that angry, and seems to be like both big angry animals with no hair that ate other animals and big angry animals with no hair that ate green things that do not move. The new study shows that it is part of one of the groups of big angry animals with no hair that eats green things that do not move, but the ones that have big heads and short necks. Parts of it look like big angry animals with no hair that eat other animals because it is an early part of the big angry animals with no hair that eat green things that do not move that have big heads and short necks even though we find it after we find some of its friends.

References:

Ou, Qiang, et al. "Three Cambrian fossils assembled into an extinct body plan of cnidarian affinity." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(2017): 201701650. 

Baron, Matthew G. and Barrett, Paul M. "A dinosaur missing-link? Chilesaurus and the early evolution of ornithischian dinosaurs" Biology Letters(2017): https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.

Direct download: Podcast_118_-_Dealing_with_Problematica.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that study how the geographic ranges of turtles and frogs changed through time, and how these changes affected their ecology and evolution. Also, James drinks what he presumes is ground horse, Curt goes full Ian Malcolm, Amanda shares life lessons about furniture, and everyone imagines what turtle they are. [Editor's note: The actual science starts about 13 minutes in, I just didn't have the heart to cut it down.]

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda and James Edition):

Today our friends talk about animals with hard backs and no hair, and also animals that jump and have little skin. The group looks at two studies that look to see whether where animals are and have been is important. We talk about how animals with hard backs and no hair used to live in many, many places. Today they live in less places. Maybe some day they will live in more places again if it gets warm because of people. But maybe not because some animals with hard backs and no hair do need it to be wet. And if it is not wet when it gets warm again then they will not be able to live in more places again. We don't know. Being wet does seem to matter a lot, though. With animals that jump and have little skin, maybe they changed in place or maybe they went all over the place and changed as they went. We read that people think that they did not change as they went, but rather changed in one place and then went to other places. 

 

References:

Waterson, Amy M., et al. "Modelling the climatic niche of turtles: a deep-time perspective." Proc. R. Soc. B. Vol. 283. No. 1839. The Royal Society, 2016. 

Chan, Kin Onn, and Rafe M. Brown. "Did true frogs ‘dispersify’?." Biology Letters 13.8 (2017): 20170299. 

Direct download: Podcast_117_-_Hero_Terrapins_and_Fighting_Frogs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that offer new evidence which re-contextualizes our understanding of the evolutionary history of two important Mesozoic groups, dinosaurs and marsupials. Meanwhile, Amanda comes up with a terrible/great new idea for liquor consumption, Curt consistently offers bad advice to his friends, and James cracks open a bottle of sangria and then everything gets a bit fuzzy. Can you guess that this was the fourth podcast recorded in a single week? Can you hear the life drain from James? (Editor's Note: The "science" starts 13 minutes in. Apologies, we will be better in the future. [Editor's Editor's Note: Probably not.])

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition): 

Today our friends talk about very large animals with no hair that everyone loves but our friends don't care about, and also funny animals with hair that are not like us because they do not have big babies. It turns out the very large animals with no hair that everyone loves are all brothers and sisters in a very funny way, not like we used to think at all. The very large animals with no hair that everyone loves have three kinds: long necks that eat leaves, ones that eat other animals, and ones that eat leaves but do not have long necks. We thought that the ones that had long necks and the ones that eat other animals were close brothers and sisters. But it turns out they might not be. The ones with long necks might be the oldest brothers and sisters, then the ones that ate leaves but did not have long necks, and then the ones that ate other animals. With the funny animals with hair that are not like us because they have small babies, they were thought to have started in places other than where our friends live. But it turns out that maybe they actually started where our friends live, and not where other people live across the big waters. 

 

References:

 Baron, Matthew G., David B. Norman, and Paul M. Barrett. "A new hypothesis of dinosaur relationships and early dinosaur evolution." Nature 543.7646 (2017): 501-506. 

 Wilson, Gregory P., et al. "A large carnivorous mammal from the Late Cretaceous and the North American origin of marsupials." Nature Communications 7 (2016). 

Direct download: Podcast_116_-_Changing_Relationships_Dinosaurs_and_Marsupials.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that discuss the methods we use to determine how different things are from each (i.e. disparity). In particular, do variations in parts of an animal give us a good sample of the morphological variability of the total animal? Meanwhile, Amanda wants a whale, James has strong opinions about vertebrae, and Curt tries to narrow in on what Amanda views as "cute".

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group looks at two studies that want to see if we can say how different animals are. There are many ways that we can try to see how animals are different from each other. The first paper looks at two ways of seeing if animals are different, one by looking at how points on the animals change between them and another by looking at what parts the animals have. The paper shows that the both types of study give the same answer, which is good news.

The second paper wants to see if we get the same answer for how animals are different from each other when we look at only one part of the animal instead of looking at the whole animal. This study also shows that when you look at part of an animal, you get the same answer as when you look at the whole animal. This is also good news! There's lots of good news, let's have a party.

 

References:

Hetherington, Alexander J., et al. "Do cladistic and morphometric data capture common patterns of morphological disparity?." Palaeontology 58.3 (2015): 393-399. 

 Hopkins, Melanie J. "How well does a part represent the whole? A comparison of cranidial shape evolution with exoskeletal character evolution in the trilobite family Pterocephaliidae." Palaeontology 60.3 (2017): 309-318. 

Direct download: Podcast_115_-_Amanda_Now_Wants_Tiny_Whales_to_be_a_Thing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that describe the life strategies of trilobites, a diverse and charismatic group of extinct arthropods. Specifically, they look at two papers that look at enrollment and movement of trilobites. Meanwhile, Amanda educates James on the nature of pain, James envisions Curt's inevitable end, and Curt invents a hockey/extinct arthropod family film.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group looks at two papers that look at old animals with many legs that live in the bad drink water place and are made out of rock. These animals are all over the place and are good to study much like small animals with hair and big ears are used today. One paper makes pictures of the old animal with many legs on the computer to see how they turn into a ball. This paper is very easy to understand and shows that these animals can turn into a ball in a number of different ways and that they started doing these different ways a number of different times. However, once they have made this change they seem to stick with it. The second paper is not very easy to understand. It looks at where these old animals with many legs form lines and tries to work out whether they are forming lines so it is easier for them to walk. A lot of numbers are used to work out how easy it is for them to walk, but it is not clear what the numbers say. They suggest the lines these animals with many legs make are the same as ones people that ride things with two round moving things instead of legs make, but this just makes things more confusing.

 

References: 

Trenchard, Hugh, Carlton E. Brett, and Matjaž Perc. "Trilobite ‘pelotons’: possible hydrodynamic drag effects between leading and following trilobites in trilobite queues." Palaeontology (2017). 

 Esteve, Jorge, et al. "Modelling enrolment in Cambrian trilobites." Palaeontology 60.3 (2017): 423-432. 

Direct download: Podcast_114_-_Trilobites_Mice_of_the_Paleozoic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss the concept of the body plan, or "bauplan", and what it means for our understanding of evolution. When in the evolutionary history of a group do the morphological characteristics we associate with that group become fixed? Meanwhile, Amanda details the exploits of mischievous crows, Curt explains our free-to-play academic futures, and James educates America on British society. Also, we start talking about science about 9 minutes in.... it's one of those podcasts.

If you want to support the podcast, you can go to www.patreon.com/palaeoafterdark to find out more.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about body plans. Yes, we can say body plan in this. Some animals and not animals are almost the same, and people wonder if it is because those animals and not animals are brothers and sisters but bigger. Also, people wonder when these animals and not animals first became the same, because they started out not the same and became more same over time. Does it matter that these animals and not animals are the same? Why are they the same? It turns out that some animals that are small with weird mouths were more different in the past than we thought, and they got their weird mouth before they became really same. Also big animals that were brother and sister but bigger to animals that would walk and maybe fly some day were very different in the past.

 

References: 

Aria, Cédric, and Jean-Bernard Caron. "Burgess Shale fossils illustrate the origin of the mandibulate body plan." Nature 545.7652 (2017): 89-92. 

 Nesbitt, Sterling J., et al. "The earliest bird-line archosaurs and the assembly of the dinosaur body plan." Nature 544.7651 (2017): 484-487. 

 

"Brightly Friendly" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed by Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_113_-_Whats_In_a_Bauplan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that use biogeochemical evidence to determine the diets of two specialist species. Just how restricted are the diets of these species? Meanwhile, Amanda finds a new pet she desperately needs, James copes with a changing environment, and Curt  gives James some advice on social situations.

If you want to support the podcast, you can go to www.patreon.com/palaeoafterdark to find out more.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about animals that can only do one thing or animals that can do many things. Most people think that animals that can only do one thing are not very good and will die fast. They also think that animals that can do many different things are good and will live a long time and have lots of babies. One paper our friends read actually says that sometimes animals look like they can do only one thing, but really they just really, really like to do that one thing, and if they have to they will do something else so that they can live. The other paper says that big stupid black and white animals that are not good are really not good and have been not good for a long time. A long time ago, there were even very small big stupid black and white animals that were not good, and even then they were not good. 

 

References: 

 Terry, Rebecca C., Megan E. Guerre, and David S. Taylor. "How specialized is a diet specialist? Niche flexibility and local persistence through time of the Chisel‐toothed Kangaroo Rat." Functional Ecology. 

 Stacklyn, Shannon, et al. "Carbon and oxygen isotopic evidence for diets, environments and niche differentiation of early Pleistocene pandas and associated mammals in South China." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 468 (2017): 351-361. 

 

"Scheming Weasel slower" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed by Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_112_-_How_Specialized_Are_Specialists_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use fossil evidence to determine how terror birds moved. Were they lumbering giants or fast sprinters? Also, James gets metaphysical, Curt unabashedly likes old Tim Burton films, Amanda doesn't appreciate science that ruins the fun, and everyone is very excited about birds that smash proto-horses.

If you want to support the podcast, you can go to www.patreon.com/palaeoafterdark to find out more.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 

Today our friends talk about very large animals with no teeth that could step on you. They did not fly but rather ran or walked slowly. Other animals, like big animals with little hair and long noses also walk slowly. The friends talk about how some of these very large animals with no teeth that could step on you looked like they ate other animals and ran very fast, and some looked like they ate other animals but did not and also walked very slow. But there are some very large animals with no teeth that we don't know if they ran very fast or walked very slow and there are other people trying to see if they walked fast or slow using how long legs are. Some parts of legs are longer than other parts of legs and that will mean if the very large animal with no teeth that could step on you could run or just walked slowly. One group looked at how long parts of legs are with other parts of the same legs. They found an easy way to see if these very large animals with no teeth that could step on you walked fast or slow. Another group looked at parts of legs in a different way with a harder numbers thing and found almost the same things as the first group!

 

References:

Angst, Delphine, et al. "A new method for estimating locomotion type in large ground birds." Palaeontology (2015). 

 Degrange, Federico J. "Hind limb morphometry of terror birds (Aves, Cariamiformes, Phorusrhacidae): functional implications for substrate preferences and locomotor lifestyle." Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of The Royal Society of Edinburgh 106.4 (2017): 257-276.

 

"Aces High" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed by Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_111_-_Giant_Killer_Birds.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that show how diet can impact stress, strain, and wear patterns of the tooth and jaw, specifically on therizinosaur dinosaurs and lions. Also, James mistakes cats for people, Amanda makes the second worse joke of the podcast, and Curt tries to advertise at the worst possible times. Also cannibalism.

If you want to support the podcast, you can go to www.patreon.com/palaeoafterdark to find out more.

 

Up-Goer Five Summary (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about big animals with no hair that had big long angry things on their hands that could hurt you. We do not know much about these big animals with no hair that had big long angry things on their hands that could hurt you. For a long time we did not know what they ate or how they lived or even what they looked like. Now we know that they are round and have very long arms. They are brothers of the big angry animals with no hair that have very large teeth and short arms. But these big animals with no hair and long angry things on their hands that can hurt you are not like their brothers that are big and angry with large teeth and short arms because they eat different things. The big animals with no hair that have very large teeth and short arms eat other big animals with no hair. And animals with hair. And any animals. The big animals with no hair that have long angry things on their hands that can hurt you do not eat other big animals with no hair. They eat leaves. When we used new ideas from brain-boxes to look at the heads of the big animals with no hair that have long angry things on their hands that can hurt you we see that they eat leaves and not other big animals with no hair.

 

Our friends also talk about big cats that ate people. 

 

References: 

Lautenschlager, Stephan. "Functional niche partitioning in Therizinosauria provides new insights into the evolution of theropod herbivory." Palaeontology 60.3 (2017): 375-387.

DeSantis, Larisa RG, and Bruce D. Patterson. "Dietary behaviour of man-eating lions as revealed by dental microwear textures." Scientific reports 7.1 (2017): 904.

 

"Honey Bee", "In Your Arms", "Monkeys Spinning Monkeys" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed by Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_110_-_Maneater.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode, the gang discusses two papers that use modern decay experiments to determine how decay can affect our understanding of the evolution of two groups, Coleoidea and Graptolithina. Are there certain structures or behaviors that make these animals more or less likely to be preserved in the fossil record? Also, the gang faces the existential void, James offers a gift, and Amanda learns something interesting about the greatest animals on the planet.

Up-Goer Five (James Edition): 

This time, the group talks about what happens to things after they die. They look at studies that took things that were not dead and made them dead (or found dead ones on ice at a shop) and then watched what happened to them as time went on. We can then use the brain facts that we get from seeing these things continue to be dead to figure out what we are seeing when we look at things that have been dead for a really long time and turned into rock. First, we look at things that live in the water and have many arms. One group is not found in rock although they should have been around a long time ago, and because of the brain facts we get from watching them be dead we can tell it is because they do not drop in the water once they are dead. The second study looks at things that building their own houses by being sick on themselves. There are lots of them in the past but now only one group is left. By killing some of the ones that are left to see how they die we can see why we only find the old houses in rock and not the animals themselves, and also if dark bits we see in the houses in the rock may in fact be those animals!

References: 

Clements, Thomas, et al. "Buoyancy mechanisms limit preservation of coleoid cephalopod soft tissues in Mesozoic Lagerstätten." Palaeontology 60.1 (2017): 1-14.

Beli, Elena, Stefano Piraino, and Christopher B. Cameron. "Fossilization processes of graptolites: insights from the experimental decay of Rhabdopleura sp.(Pterobranchia)." Palaeontology (2017).

 

Direct download: Podcast_109_-_Dead_Squids_and_Graptolites.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode, the gang decides to go back to some old papers they enjoy to discuss the concept of homology. What do we really mean when we say certain characteristics are shared due to evolutionary history? Also, for a brief minute in the second half, James was spontaneously possessed by demonic spirits that made him spout nonsense he doesn't actually believe. Unrelated to this, he also had a splitting migraine. 

Up-goer Five (Amanda in a fever-based fugue state edition): 

Today our friends talk about how things are the same because animals are brother and sister. This means that the brother and sister animals have parts that are the same because they have the same mother and father animals. But the way that brother and sister animals have the same parts can be because of different ways. People do not understand really what it means when we say that these brother and sister animals have the same parts. So our friends try to explain how these parts came to be and why.

References:

Van Valen, Leigh M. "Homology and causes." Journal of Morphology 173.3 (1982): 305-312.

Wiley, E. O. "Homology, identity and transformation." Mesozoic fishes 4 (2008): 9-21.

Direct download: Podcast_108_-_Homology_Party.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang talks about two papers that detail the ecology and evolution of some early fishy vertebrates. Can we tell what early coelacanth fish might have eaten? What evolutionary changes occurred when early tetrapods started making their way onto land? Is there an evolutionary trend towards kawaii? All this and less will be discussed.

 

Oh, and James has made some interesting discoveries about The Legend of Zelda.

Up-Goer Five (James Edition): 

The group looks at two papers that are to do with animals with no legs that live in water although in one of the papers one of the animals is trying to have legs. In the first paper we see a very old animal with no legs that lives in water that has family around today that are thought to be pretty much the same but actually may be doing different things. We see that this old thing with no legs was eating a type of animal that we do not get any more, which is interesting as we have no way of telling that anything else ate this animal. In the second paper we look at things with no legs that are starting to having legs. We see that their eyes are moving on top of their heads like big angry things with hard skin and big teeth in long faces that live in the water. At the same time the eyes are moving onto the top of the head they are also getting bigger, and it is shown that the animals would have been able to see better out of the water. This seems to be happening at the same time as them starting to change their not legs into legs. The most interesting thing is that when some of the animals that then have legs go back into the water their eyes get smaller but do not move back down the side of the head; they are stuck there even though they are no good there any more!

 

References:

MacIver, Malcolm A., et al. "Massive increase in visual range preceded the origin of terrestrial vertebrates." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114.12 (2017): E2375-E2384.

Zatoń, Michał, et al. "The first direct evidence of a Late Devonian coelacanth fish feeding on conodont animals." The Science of Nature 104.3-4 (2017): 26.

Direct download: Podcast_107_-_A_Very_Fishy_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates four years of podcasting with a lengthy discussion about living fossils. What do we mean when we use the term living fossil, and can we come up with an operational definition? Also, Amanda risks invoking the destructive powers of John Wick, James invents the best Mass Effect slash fiction, and Curt plans for Amanda's replacement.

Musical track, "Sail the Canals" from Mario Party 7 is owned by Nintendo and Hudson. Used under fair use.

Up-goer Five (Amanda Edition): 

Today our friends talk about animals that lived a long time ago but still kind of are here today. People say that these animals that lived a long time ago are still here today and have not become any different than they were a long time ago. But our friends have a talk about how the animals that lived a long time ago and do not look different today are actually very different today than they were a very long time ago. Some of them might not look different but their stuff that makes them them is actually very different. Some of them have family that used to look very different even though they look like old, old animals that lived a long time ago. In the end, our friends decided that animals that look like animals that lived a long time ago are actually not the ones that lived a long time ago.

References:

Herrera‐Flores, Jorge A., Thomas L. Stubbs, and Michael J. Benton. "Macroevolutionary patterns in Rhynchocephalia: is the tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) a living fossil?." Palaeontology (2017).

Kin, Adrian, and Błażej Błażejowski. "The horseshoe crab of the genus Limulus: living fossil or stabilomorph?." PLoS One 9.10 (2014): e108036.

Direct download: Podcast_106_-_A_Bunch_of_Living_Fossils_Four_Years_of_Podcasting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses extinction rates to determine if we are in a sixth mass extinction (spoilers we very much are). Also, Curt decides to refocus the podcast, Amanda describes a disturbing tale of assault with deadly pastry, and James  has some quasi-legal ideas of branding.

Up-Goer Five Summary (James and Amanda Edition):

Today our three friends talk about how fast things die. Sometimes things die fast, and sometimes things die slowly. Most of the time things die slowly, but when things die fast, it is very bad. Bad things happen when everything dies fast. Right now, it looks like things are dying very fast, oh no. Things are dying so fast, it could be a hundred or even a ten hundred times faster than when things die slowly. This is bad because when things die they can't come back. Our friends talk about how bad it is when things die fast, and how people can maybe make things die slower.

References:

Martin, Robert A., and Pablo Peláez‐Campomanes. "Extinction rates of the Meade Basin rodents: application to current biodiversity losses." Lethaia (2016).

Ceballos, Gerardo, et al. "Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction." Science advances 1.5 (2015): e1400253.

Direct download: Podcast_105_-_Well_Meet_Again.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang steps out of their comfort zone to discuss the changes in the ancient atmosphere that resulted in the Great Oxidation Event. Meanwhile, Amanda demonstrates a careless disregard for hands, James gets creative with spelling, and Curt aims for comedic mediocrity.

Up-Goer 5 Summary (Amanda Edition):

Today the group talks about tiny things that make air that we can breathe. Long, long ago there were many tiny things that made air that we could not breathe. Less long ago there came along some little tiny things that made air that we can breathe. This air that we can breathe made almost all of the other little tiny things die because they could not breathe it. The group talks about these little tiny things that made both good air and bad air and how they made different kinds of rocks and used different kinds of rocks and air to live.

References:

Lyons, Timothy W., Christopher T. Reinhard, and Noah J. Planavsky. "The rise of oxygen in Earth/'s early ocean and atmosphere." Nature 506.7488 (2014): 307-315.

Lalonde, Stefan V., and Kurt O. Konhauser. "Benthic perspective on Earth’s oldest evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112.4 (2015): 995-1000.

Konhauser, Kurt O., et al. "Could bacteria have formed the Precambrian banded iron formations?." Geology 30.12 (2002): 1079-1082.

Johnson, Jena E., et al. "Manganese-oxidizing photosynthesis before the rise of cyanobacteria." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110.28 (2013): 11238-11243.

Czaja, Andrew D., Nicolas J. Beukes, and Jeffrey T. Osterhout. "Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria prior to the Great Oxidation Event from the 2.52 Ga Gamohaan Formation of South Africa." Geology 44.12 (2016): 983-986.


The gang discusses how exceptional fossil preservation can change our understanding of ancient life, focusing specifically on two new studies that offer insight into trilobite reproduction and hyolith evolution respectively. And when faced with the challenge of describing the indescribable weirdness of hyoliths, the gang falls back on their old mainstay of saying "It's weird" and derailing the conversation every five minutes. But hey, there's a 20 minute conversation about science outreach in the middle there that comes out of nowhere that's not terrible.... so that's something...

We're very... very... sorry.

References:

Hegna, Thomas A., Markus J. Martin, and Simon AF Darroch. "Pyritized in situ trilobite eggs from the Ordovician of New York (Lorraine Group): Implications for trilobite reproductive biology." Geology (2017): G38773-1.

Moysiuk, Joseph, Martin R. Smith, and Jean-Bernard Caron. "Hyoliths are Palaeozoic lophophorates." Nature (2017).


Curt thought that a simple podcast about preserving color patterns in feathers would be fun. Little did he know, this decision would end up pushing the group's friendships to the limit. Will the podcast survive? Will there be an episode 103? Find out in two weeks.

Midi music from freemidi.org

"Hyperfun" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

​References:

Gren, Johan A., et al. "Molecular and microstructural inventory of an isolated fossil bird feather from the Eocene Fur Formation of Denmark." Palaeontology 60.1 (2017): 73-90.

Peteya, Jennifer A., et al. "The plumage and colouration of an enantiornithine bird from the early cretaceous of china." Palaeontology 60.1 (2017): 55-71.

Direct download: Podcast_102_-_The_Feather_That_Broke_The_Podcasts_Back.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

We celebrate the New Year by having a discussion about the evolution of feeding strategies, in particular sucking whales. Also, Amanda is a bad "parent", James spreads new Elk related lies, and Curt is happy he's at least being remembered.

References:

Vullo, Romain, Ronan Allain, and Lionel Cavin. "Convergent evolution of jaws between spinosaurid dinosaurs and pike conger eels." Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 61.4 (2016): 825-828.

Marx, Felix G., David P. Hocking, Travis Park, Tim Ziegler, Alistair R. Evans, and Erich M. G. Fitzgerald. "Suction feeding preceded filtering in baleen whale evolution" Memoirs of Museum Victoria 75 (2016): 71-82.

Direct download: Podcast_101_-_Sucky_Whales.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates their 100th episode by taking a break and playing Fiasco, a crime/noir storytelling game by Bully Pit Games.

A fluorescent motel sign illuminates the inky blackness, its crackling electric hum merging perfectly with the clicking of the cicadas in the humid summer night. A solitary figure stands nearby, barely visible in the garish green and orange glow. She nervously rolls a cigarette between her fingers, her gaze furtively snapping back and forth between the barely illuminated run down two story building, the "Motel Manna", and the vast empty night. The unexpected flash of a pair of headlights from an all too familiar Dodge catches her gaze and for a second she freezes in place and hopes it's all a dream. The car stops and she knows she's been seen. "Fuck it" she says to herself, cigarette now firmly clenched so tightly in her jaw it would take a crowbar to pry it out. Summer nights like these can just be too much for one person to bare.

"Too Much to Bear" is a story of murder, betrayal, and bear smuggling.

"Deadly Roulette" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_100_-_Too_Much_to_Bear.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode, the gang discusses two papers that look at the ecological and evolutionary impacts of animal camouflage. Also, James finds his true calling as a musician, Amanda wants to knit a sweater for a 50 foot hare, and Curt is surprised that he's still surprised.

References:

Zimova, Marketa, L. Scott Mills, and J. Joshua Nowak. "High fitness costs of climate change‐induced camouflage mismatch." Ecology letters 19.3 (2016): 299-307.

Somveille, Marius, Kate LA Marshall, and Thanh-Lan Gluckman. "A global analysis of bird plumage patterns reveals no association between habitat and camouflage." PeerJ 4 (2016): e2658.

Direct download: Podcast_99_-_How_Not_To_Be_Seen_Camouflage_and_Evolution.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

<Editor's Note: Skip to 13 minutes in if you only want to get to the science. I didn't have the heart to cut the intro down>

In this episode, we eventually get to discussing patterns of extinction selectivity in mammals during two major extinctions (the end Cretaceous and the modern biodiversity crisis). Also, James discusses delicious ways to end the world, Curt details the Lord of the Footballs, and Amanda really would like to know WHEN we're going to start discussing the papers.

References:

Longrich, N. R., J. Scriberas, and M. A. Wills. "Severe extinction and rapid recovery of mammals across the Cretaceous‐Paleogene boundary, and the effects of rarity on patterns of extinction and recovery." Journal of evolutionary biology (2016).

Lyons, S. Kathleen, et al. "The changing role of mammal life histories in Late Quaternary extinction vulnerability on continents and islands." Biology Letters 12.6 (2016): 20160342.

Direct download: Podcast_98_-_When_the_Mammal_Extinctions_Are.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about archosaur heads, one of which is actually about archosaurs with big heads. Also, Amanda's cat gets revenge for the podcast thumbnail, James wants to be a super villain, Curt decides to drink, and we all design better dinosaurs.

Also, this cockatoo gif is a thing that should be known and celebrated.

http://i.imgur.com/mZEnTJc.mp4

Midi music from freemidi.org

References: 

Gates, Terry A., Chris Organ, and Lindsay E. Zanno. "Bony cranial ornamentation linked to rapid evolution of gigantic theropod dinosaurs." Nature Communications 7 (2016): 12931.

Stocker, Michelle R., et al. "A dome-headed stem archosaur exemplifies convergence among dinosaurs and their distant relatives." Current Biology26.19 (2016): 2674-2680.

Direct download: Podcast_97_-_Big_Heads.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two interesting fossil localities that allow us to see snapshots of ancient ecosystems. Meanwhile, Curt describes an alternative Madden series, Amanda is given questionable life advice, and James comes up with a "story" for our fossils.

References: 

Smith, Krister T., and Agustín Scanferla. "Fossil snake preserving three trophic levels and evidence for an ontogenetic dietary shift."Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments (2016): 1-11.

Olive, Sébastien, et al. "Placoderm Assemblage from the Tetrapod-Bearing Locality of Strud (Belgium, Upper Famennian) Provides Evidence for a Fish Nursery." PloS one 11.8 (2016): e0161540. 

Direct download: Podcast_96_-_A_Window_to_an_Ancient_World.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that deal with the age of animals, one fossil paper looking at tyranosaurids and one modern example looking at Greenland sharks. Meanwhile, Amanda has unique pronunciations, James invents a series of "better" movies, and Curt gets contemplative when left alone. 

References: 

Nielsen, Julius, et al. "Eye lens radiocarbon reveals centuries of longevity in the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus)." Science 353.6300 (2016): 702-704.

Erickson, Gregory M., et al. "Tyrannosaur life tables: an example of nonavian dinosaur population biology." Science 313.5784 (2006): 213-217.

Direct download: Podcast_95_-_How_Old_Is_It_Greenland_Sharks_and_Tyranosaurids.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

It's that time of year again as James and Curt travel to Denver and see the cool, new, interesting paleo research that's going on at the Geological Society of America Meeting 2016. This year they're joined by friend of the podcast Brendan Anderson, as well as ammonoid worker Carine Kline, evolutionary biology April Wright, and a very exuberant and somewhat inebriated David Bapst.

Day 1 with James and Curt: 0:00:00 - 1:17:30.

Day 2 with James, Curt, Brendan, and Carine: 1:17:30- 2:47:55

Day 3 with James, Curt, and Brendan: 2:47:55-3:31:17

Day 4 with James, Curt, Brendan, April, and David: 3:31:17-5:21:35

Direct download: Podcast_94_-_GSA_2016_We_Dont_Actually_Have_a_Fridge.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode, the gang discusses two studies that look at the extent to which the ecological preferences of an organism are linked to that organism's morphology. Meanwhile, Curt has an existential crisis, Amanda stops caring to the extreme, and James desperately asks for another take.

References:

Smithson, Timothy R., Kelly R. Richards, and Jennifer A. Clack. "Lungfish diversity in Romer's Gap: reaction to the end‐Devonian extinction."Palaeontology 59.1 (2016): 29-44.

Cothran, Rickey D., et al. "Phenotypically similar but ecologically distinct: differences in competitive ability and predation risk among amphipods."Oikos 122.10 (2013): 1429-1440.

Direct download: Podcast_93_-_Alien_Shrimp_Thing_Modern_and_Fossil_Ecomorphy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that describe the root systems of the first "tree-like" plants, the giant lycopsids from the Carboniferous. Also, Amanda's cat finds a brand new toy, James over commits to a bit, and Curt pulls the strings behind the scene.

References:

Thomas, Barry A., and Leyla J. Seyfullah. "Stigmaria Brongniart: a new specimen from Duckmantian (Lower Pennsylvanian) Brymbo (Wrexham, North Wales) together with a review of known casts and how they were preserved." Geological Magazine 152.05 (2015): 858-870.

Hetherington, Alexander J., Christopher M. Berry, and Liam Dolan. "Networks of highly branched stigmarian rootlets developed on the first giant trees." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2016): 201514427.

Direct download: Podcast_92_-_The_Root_of_the_Problem.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that study how human beings have affected the evolutionary trajectories of other organisms. Meanwhile, Amanda paints an imaginative scene, James describes the perfect human world, and Curt wins the most obscure movie reference. 

Music: "Central Park" by Charles Ives, used in accordance with Fair Use.

References:

LaZerte, Stefanie E., Hans Slabbekoorn, and Ken A. Otter. "Learning to cope: vocal adjustment to urban noise is correlated with prior experience in black-capped chickadees." Proc. R. Soc. B. Vol. 283. No. 1833. The Royal Society, 2016.

Direct download: Podcast_91_-_A_Conservation_Conversation_Evolution_with_a_Human_Touch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the evolutionary history of cats. Is there a trend towards an optimal cat size in evolution? Meanwhile, Curt admits to an embarrassing lack of 80's knowledge, Amanda wants to expand her cat menagerie, and James demonstrates his vocal range. WARNING TO HEADPHONE USERS LOUD NOISE DURING THE FIRST MINUTE OF THE PODCAST.

References:

Tseng, Z. Jack, et al. "Himalayan fossils of the oldest known pantherine establish ancient origin of big cats." Proc. R. Soc. B. Vol. 281. No. 1774. The Royal Society, 2014.

Cuff, A. R., et al. "Big cat, small cat: reconstructing body size evolution in living and extinct Felidae." Journal of evolutionary biology 28.8 (2015): 1516-1525.

Direct download: Podcast_90_-_Big_Small_Cats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two examples of cool animals trapped in amber. Meanwhile, James draws a line in the sand concerning food, Amanda can't decide which fictional animal is the cutest, Curt lies, and the gang gets dark while discussing children's fantasy fiction.

References:

Perrichot, Vincent, Bo Wang, and Michael S. Engel. "Extreme Morphogenesis and Ecological Specialization among Cretaceous Basal Ants." Current Biology 26.11 (2016): 1468-1472.

Xing, Lida, et al. "Mummified precocial bird wings in mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber." Nature Communications 7 (2016).

Direct download: Podcast_89_-_Spicy_Maple_Glazed_Wings_A_Discussion_on_Fossils_in_Amber.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Podcast 88 - Fossil Murder Mysteries

The gang don their deerstalkers and dive into some palaeontological cold cases. Mystery and murder abound as they explore evidence for predation in the fossil record, with a supporting cast of stingrays, crabs, and some of Earth's oldest organisms. Also, James explains how terrifying the world is, Curtis reminds everyone that Deep Blue Sea is a thing, and Amanda puts the cat centre stage.

References:

Calderwood, J. & Sigwart, J. D. "Broken pieces: can variable ecological interactions be deduced from the remains of crab attacks on bivalve shells?" Lethaia (2016): 10.1111/let.12178.

Grun, T. B.. "Echinoid test damage by a stingray predator" Lethaia (2015): 10.1111/let.12165.

Porter, S. M. "TIny vampires in ancient seas: evidence for predation via perforation in fossils from the 780–740 million-year-old Chuar Group, Grand Canyon, USA." Proceedings of the Royal Society B (2016): 10.1098/rspb.2016.0221.

Direct download: Podcast_88_-_Fossil_Murder_Mysteries.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Everybody is back in the same zip code for an extra special episode focusing on fish faces and evolving trace fossils through time. Also, James enjoys the perks of podcasting in person, Amanda decides to be as general as possible, and Curt decides to aggressively Godwin's Law the podcast. Also, the gang invents a mixed drink on air and then things get.... weird. This episode is pretty much all over the place.

"The Ichnofacies": 1 part Dark Spiced Rum, 1 part agave syrup, served over ice

"Hyperfun" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

References:

Szrek, Piotr, et al. "A glimpse of a fish face—An exceptional fish feeding trace fossil from the Lower Devonian of the Holy Cross Mountains, Poland."Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 454 (2016): 113-124.

Lehane, James R., and A. A. Ekdale. "Morphometric analysis of graphoglyptid trace fossils in two dimensions: implications for behavioral evolution in the deep sea." Paleobiology 42.2 (2016): 317-334.

Direct download: Podcast_87_-_Leaving_a_Mark_Trace_Fossil_Changes_Through_Time.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use functional morphology to determine when echolocation evolved in two groups of mammals, whales and bats. Also, Curt rattles off a wikipedia page on hamburgers, James fights against physics, and Amanda would rather talk about how terrifying Basilosaurus is. Also, to cut this off at the pass, a correction. Bats are the "SECOND" most diverse mammal group and rodents are the most diverse.

References:

Simmons, Nancy B., et al. "Primitive Early Eocene bat from Wyoming and the evolution of flight and echolocation." Nature 451.7180 (2008): 818-821.

Park, Travis, Erich MG Fitzgerald, and Alistair R. Evans. "Ultrasonic hearing and echolocation in the earliest toothed whales." Biology letters 12.4 (2016): 20160060.

Direct download: Podcast_86_-_Echolocation_in_the_Fossil_Record.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode, the gang discusses two papers that use morphological and chemical proxies to understand the metabolism of fossil animals. Did all early tetrapods breathe through their skin? Were mosasaurs warm blooded? Also, James accidentally goes full stealth, Amanda instigates a Civil War, and Curt gets not-it'ed into bumbling through explaining geochemistry.

References:

Witzmann, Florian. "CO2‐metabolism in early tetrapods revisited: inferences from osteological correlates of gills, skin and lung ventilation in the fossil record." Lethaia (2015).

Harrell, T. Lynn, Alberto Pérez‐Huerta, and Celina A. Suarez. "Endothermic mosasaurs? Possible thermoregulation of Late Cretaceous mosasaurs (Reptilia, Squamata) indicated by stable oxygen isotopes in fossil bioapatite in comparison with coeval marine fish and pelagic seabirds." Palaeontology59.3 (2016): 351-363.

Direct download: Podcast_85_-_Hot_Blooded_Studying_Fossil_Metabolism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode, the gang discusses two papers that try and piece apart the complicated evolutionary history of cyclostomes (lampreys and hagfish) and spiders. What did the ancestors of these things look like? Also, Amanda comes up with a lucrative business proposal, James hijacks the podcast to make a bold statement, and Curt is skeptical of history.

References:

Ota, Kinya G., et al. "Identification of vertebra-like elements and their possible differentiation from sclerotomes in the hagfish." Nature communications 2 (2011): 373.

Oisi, Yasuhiro, et al. "Craniofacial development of hagfishes and the evolution of vertebrates." Nature 493.7431 (2013): 175-180.

Garwood, Russell J., et al. "Almost a spider: a 305-million-year-old fossil arachnid and spider origins." Proc. R. Soc. B. Vol. 283. No. 1827. The Royal Society, 2016.


In this episode, the gang discusses two papers about the long term macroevolutionary effects of ecological specialization. Is specialization on a specific ecology an evolutionary dead end? The gang attempts to answer that question, but they keep getting distracted. Also, James shares life experiences, Amanda imagines a nightmarish future for James, and Curt workshops the plot of a new epic animated experience.

References:

Day, Emma H., Xia Hua, and Lindell Bromham. "Is specialization an evolutionary dead end? Testing for differences in speciation, extinction and trait transition rates across diverse phylogenies of specialists and generalists." Journal of Evolutionary Biology (2016).

Burin, Gustavo, et al. "Omnivory in birds is a macroevolutionary sink."Nature Communications 7 (2016).


In this episode, we wanted to discuss large-scale astrobiological patterns and cyclicity of extinction, but instead we picked a few papers that weren't directly focused on those themes. So join us as we talk around two astrobiology papers! Meanwhile, James nearly becomes a mass extinction, Curt considers the psychological health of the hero of Hyrule, and Amanda gives her cat some tough love.

References:

Nimura, Tokuhiro, Toshikazu Ebisuzaki, and Shigenori Maruyama. "End-cretaceous cooling and mass extinction driven by a dark cloud encounter."Gondwana Research (2016).

Whitmire, Daniel P. "Periodic mass extinctions and the Planet X model reconsidered." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters455.1 (2016): L114-L117.


In this episode the gang discusses two papers about how niche breadth can change as organisms grow, with one paper looking at modern organisms and the other focusing on extinct fossil taxa. Also, James is fascinated by New York's greatest "hero", Amanda becomes "enthusiastic" in her defense of a topic, and witness the dark middle chapter of the podcast as Curt "ruins everything". We also have an in-depth discussion on what can and cannot be classified as a pie.... it's one of those podcasts. Skip to 12 minutes in if you want to start learning about science.

References

Dick, Daniel G., Günter Schweigert, and Erin E. Maxwell. "Trophic niche ontogeny and palaeoecology of early Toarcian Stenopterygius (Reptilia: Ichthyosauria)." Palaeontology (2016).

Purwandana, Deni, et al. "Ecological allometries and niche use dynamics across Komodo dragon ontogeny." The Science of Nature 103.3-4 (2016): 1-11.

Direct download: Podcast_81_-_Niche_Ontogeny_The_Hero_This_City_Deserves.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode, the gang celebrates its third year of podcasting by discussing two papers that use the fossil record to determine how our current biodiversity crisis stacks up to past mass extinctions. Also, Amanda deals with abandonment, James explore New York, and Curt gives life lessons from 70s film.

"Mr Mealeys Mediocre Machine" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

References:

Hull, Pincelli M., Simon AF Darroch, and Douglas H. Erwin. "Rarity in mass extinctions and the future of ecosystems." Nature 528.7582 (2015): 345-351.

Plotnick, Roy E., Felisa A. Smith, and S. Kathleen Lyons. "The fossil record of the sixth extinction." Ecology letters (2016).


In this episode the gang talks about Dodo brains and Glyptodont genes. Meanwhile, James makes an unappreciated joke, Curt tries to create an "internet hug", and Amanda learns about The Batman. 

References:

Gold, Maria Eugenia Leone, Estelle Bourdon, and Mark A. Norell. "The first endocast of the extinct dodo (Raphus cucullatus) and an anatomical comparison amongst close relatives (Aves, Columbiformes)." Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (2016).

Delsuc, Frédéric, et al. "The phylogenetic affinities of the extinct glyptodonts." Current Biology 26.4 (2016): R155-R156.

Direct download: Podcast_79_-_All_the_Cool_Stuff_is_Dead_On_Dodos_and_Glyptodonts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses three papers that detail some truly unique examples of morphological convergence; from brachiopods that look like corals to bovids with dinosaurian nasal crests. Also, James designs some conspicuous Mario levels,  Amanda wins an argument that "never happened", Curt is excluded from a business venture, and everything comes back to Zardoz.

References:

Streng, Michael, et al. "A new family of Cambrian rhynchonelliformean brachiopods (Order Naukatida) with an aberrant coral‐like morphology."Palaeontology 59.2 (2016): 269-293.

Labandeira, Conrad C., et al. "The evolutionary convergence of mid-Mesozoic lacewings and Cenozoic butterflies." Proc. R. Soc. B. Vol. 283. No. 1824. The Royal Society, 2016.

O’Brien, Haley D., et al. "Unexpected Convergent Evolution of Nasal Domes between Pleistocene Bovids and Cretaceous Hadrosaur Dinosaurs." Current Biology (2016).

Direct download: Podcast_78_-_History_Repeats_Bizarre_Convergence_in_Fossil_Animals.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode, we discuss the complex relationship between fungi and earth systems processes through time, focusing on the potential role of fungi in facilitating early terrestrialization and the proposed hypothesis that fungi may (or may not) have been indirectly responsible for the Carboniferous coal swamps. Also, Amanda aggressively segues, Curt derails the conversation into navel gazing about the nature of scientific fields, and James goes on a fascinating journey from Angry to Annoyed finally ending up at Resentfully Happy.

"Aces High" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

References: 

Redecker, Dirk, Robin Kodner, and Linda E. Graham. "Glomalean fungi from the Ordovician." Science 289.5486 (2000): 1920-1921.

Heckman, Daniel S., et al. "Molecular evidence for the early colonization of land by fungi and plants." Science 293.5532 (2001): 1129-1133.

Lücking, Robert, et al. "Fungi evolved right on track." Mycologia 101.6 (2009): 810-822.

Nelsen, Matthew P., et al. "Delayed fungal evolution did not cause the Paleozoic peak in coal production." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2016): 201517943.

 

Direct download: Podcast_77_-_Old_and_Burny_A_Discussion_of_Fossil_Fungi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode we discuss a grab bag of Mesozoic papers, ranging from potential dinosaur mating dances to large-eyed mosasaurs. And after a fairly sober month, Amanda and James dive headfirst into the highest alcohol content beer they have with expected disastrous results. Come and join us as Amanda tries her hand at ASMR, James uncovers a plot to destroy him, and Curt enjoys being the most sober person in the room. Also we keep talking about The Thing for some reason...

References

Lockley, Martin G., et al. "Theropod courtship: large scale physical evidence of display arenas and avian-like scrape ceremony behaviour by Cretaceous dinosaurs." Scientific reports 6 (2016).

Konishi, Takuya, et al. "A new halisaurine mosasaur (Squamata: Halisaurinae) from Japan: the first record in the western Pacific realm and the first documented insights into binocular vision in mosasaurs." Journal of Systematic Palaeontology (2015): 1-31.


We ring in the new year by talking about new research on the evolutionary history of early animals. Also, Amanda makes some very deep cartoon cuts, James manages an emergency, and Curt makes impossible resolutions. 

References:

Pisani, Davide, et al. "Genomic data do not support comb jellies as the sister group to all other animals." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112.50 (2015): 15402-15407.

Erwin, Douglas H. "Early metazoan life: divergence, environment and ecology." Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 370.1684 (2015): 20150036.

Direct download: Podcast_75_-_New_Years_Resolutions_and_Sponges_Yall.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode, we discuss two papers about early tetrapods/tetrapodomorph taxa, Tiktaalik  and Ichthyostega, and what new findings suggest about their locomotion. Also, Curt makes a suspicious delivery, and James desperately tries to feed Amanda "spoilers" for the new Star Wars. EDITOR'S NOTE: While I cannot confirm that any of James's spoilers are indeed accurate, they seem highly unlikely to be true (although if they are true, then the film they suggest is AMAZING).

Up goer five simple text summary:

The group takes time out from a time when not much is meant to happen to talk about some animals with big arms that were some of the first animals with four legs to come on to land. In between talking about a space movie where people use guns that fire light to show how they feel about each other, the group looks at a paper looking at the back end of an animal that had before been known only from its front. This new part of the animal shows that it had very small back legs that still looked more like for use in water. The second paper looks at a well known animal with four legs in a new way for the first time. It uses computers to picture it in a way that you can't picture it with just eyes, and this shows new things about it. The new way of looking shows that the animal would not have been as good at walking on land as people have thought. This is important as there are tracks that show there were animals with four legs that were very good at walking on land around at the same time. The animals that we have found were not able to make these tracks, and so this shows that there were other animals around at the same time that were better at walking on land, and that maybe this group of animals that walked on land started earlier than we thought.

References:

Shubin, Neil H., Edward B. Daeschler, and Farish A. Jenkins. "Pelvic girdle and fin of Tiktaalik roseae." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111.3 (2014): 893-899.

Pierce, Stephanie E., Jennifer A. Clack, and John R. Hutchinson. "Three-dimensional limb joint mobility in the early tetrapod Ichthyostega." Nature486.7404 (2012): 523-526.

Direct download: Podcast_74_-_Early_Tetrapods_Awaken.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode, we discuss two papers that describe ammonite feeding habits. Meanwhile,  Amanda gets into a boxing match, Curt is introduced to Moon Moon, and James is completely derailed by an animal.... again. Also, James invents a completely ridiculous life strategy  for ammonites (34 :30) that Curt is just drunk enough to truly appreciate. 

Simple text summary

The groups looks at two papers to find out what old animals with many arms and a hard house that they moved about the water in ate. The first paper studies old animals that have been looked at with a computer to see inside them and look at their teeth. The study shows that some of these many armed house carrying animals ate tiny animals that fill the water. The other paper looks at the mouths of other types of animals with arms that carry houses on them and finds that they are very different. This paper shows that several different types of animals with arms that cary houses ate different things, and that the oldest type of eating is still seen today in a living animal with many arms that carries its house around.

References

Kruta, Isabelle, et al. "The role of ammonites in the Mesozoic marine food web revealed by jaw preservation." Science 331.6013 (2011): 70-72.

Tanabe, Kazushige, et al. "The jaw apparatuses of Cretaceous Phylloceratina (Ammonoidea)." Lethaia 46.3 (2013): 399-408.

Direct download: Podcast_73_-_Sincere_Apologies_to_All_Ammonite_Workers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Fresh off of GSA, the gang gets together to discuss a quick paper about the extent to which adaptation can overprint historical signal in evolution. Afterwards, James and Curt update Amanda with the highlights of GSA. Meanwhile, Curt explains quarter based economics, James hosts a quiz show, and Amanda is delighted by a paper.

 "Your Call" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 References: 

Ord, Terry J., and Thomas C. Summers. "Repeated evolution and the impact of evolutionary history on adaptation." BMC evolutionary biology 15.1 (2015): 137.

Direct download: Podcast_72_-_Converging_on_a_Topic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

It's that time of year again, so James and Curt bring you day by day coverage of the 2015 Geological Society of America meeting, joined by friends Brendan Anderson and Tory McCoy. So join us for an ethically compromised good time as they discuss the fascinating work of strangers, friends, and themselves.

Day 1: James and Curtis

Day 2: James, Curtis, and Brendan starts at 0:50.40

Day 3: James, Curtis, Brendan, and Tory starts at 2:03.22.

Direct download: Podcast_71_-_GSA_2015.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that deal with the events that led to the extinction of the early metazoan Ediacaran fauna, as well as the extinction's philosophical ramifications for our understanding of evolution in general. Chaos runs rampant throughout this podcast as our figurative and literal systems break down through time. But somehow, life.... finds a way.... through a 4G network. Meanwhile, Amanda jumps the gun, Curt makes jokes no one can understand, James "wins" again, and everyone slowly succumbs to chaos and madness. If you're just joining us for the first time, I'm so very... very sorry. 

 

References:

Darroch, Simon AF, et al. "Biotic replacement and mass extinction of the Ediacara biota." Proc. R. Soc. B. Vol. 282. No. 1814. The Royal Society, 2015.

Erwin, Douglas H. "Was the Ediacaran–Cambrian radiation a unique evolutionary event?." Paleobiology 41.01 (2015): 1-15.

Direct download: Podcast_70_-_Systems_Breaking_Down_The_End_of_the_Ediacaran.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

The gang finally just does what comes naturally and discusses two papers about food. Specifically, one paper on why things aren't tasty and another answering the vital question "what foods in the past would be kosher" (the answer might just surprise you). Meanwhile, Amanda finds her spirit animal, James details our terrifying corporate future, and Curt wants to play a game. TRIGGER WARNING: Mild joking reference to sexual-violence and mascots in the first two minutes. TRIGGER WARNING: We talk about eating meat throughout. 

Up-goer five simple-speak text:

The group talks about two papers that look at food and which animals make good food. The first paper looks at the babies of small animals that have pretty things that let them fly. They find out that the babies that ate things with leaves that made bad food also made bad food themselves and would be ignored by other small animals that tried to eat them. The other paper works out whether animals in the past would have been good food for people that have very few things they can eat. The paper uses different ways of telling what things had to show that these people would not be able to eat most things.

 

References:

Dyer, Lee A. "Tasty generalists and nasty specialists? Antipredator mechanisms in tropical lepidopteran larvae." Ecology (1995): 1483-1496.

Plotnick, Roy E., Jessica M. Theodor, and Thomas R. Holtz Jr. "Jurassic Pork: What Could a Jewish Time Traveler Eat?." Evolution: Education and Outreach8.1 (2015): 1-14.

Direct download: Podcast_69_-_Tasty_Kosher_Food.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about the evolutionary placement of some Cretaceous flowering plants (angiosperms). Meanwhile, Amanda finds her alter ego,  James goes very old school with his jokes, and Curt really doesn't want to talk about the next paper.

 

References

Friis, Else Marie, et al. "Archaefructus–angiosperm precursor or specialized early angiosperm?." Trends in plant science 8.8 (2003): 369-373.

Gomez, Bernard, et al. "Montsechia, an ancient aquatic angiosperm."Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112.35 (2015): 10985-10988.

Direct download: Podcast_68_-_Plonts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that detail how the stratigraphic record affects our understanding of the fossil record.  Meanwhile, Amanda gets very enthusiastic, James burns straw men,  and Curt isn't sorry.

 

References

Benton, Michael J. "Palaeodiversity and formation counts: redundancy or bias?." Palaeontology (2015).

Holland, Steven M., and Mark E. Patzkowsky. "The stratigraphy of mass extinction." Palaeontology (2015).

Direct download: Podcast_67_-_Stratigraphic_Bias.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode the gang tries to have a discussion about the fossil preservation of birds. Instead they get completely sidetracked imagining the penguin apocalypse. Meanwhile, Amanda slowly goes crazy, James keeps hearing things, and Curt delights in a mispronunciation.

 

"Up goer five" text summary

This time the group looks at papers about how animals that have bits that mean they can fly break down when they are dead. The first paper looks at what happens to animals that have bits that mean they can fly when their bodies are left in bad water. These studies are used to see how long animals that could fly were dead before they were covered by stuff in old places where lots of dead things are found in the same place. The study shows that there are fewer types of animals that could fly in these old places where lots of dead things are found in the same place than we would expect. The second paper uses a computer to find out whether we should expect to find all the types of animals that could fly in these old places where lots of dead things are found in the same place. This study shows that we should not expect to find all of the animals that could fly in these old places, but instead that because on the type of old place we should expect to see different types of animals that could fly because of where they lived.

 

References:

Davis, Paul G., and Derek EG Briggs. "The impact of decay and disarticulation on the preservation of fossil birds." Palaios 13.1 (1998): 3-13.

Mitchell, Jonathan S. "Preservation is predictable: quantifying the effect of taphonomic biases on ecological disparity in birds." Paleobiology 41.02 (2015): 353-367.

Direct download: Podcast_66_-_Penguin_Death_Land.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang goes broad and tackles two papers that deal with evidence of sex and reproduction in the fossil record. Meanwhile, Amanda goes method, James invents a new scientific term, and Curt is haunted by one terrible joke that will not die.

"Hyperfun" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

"Up goer five" text summary

Today the group talks about fucking. Yes, fuck is one of the ten hundred most used words, while better and less bad words for fucking are not. You think what that means about people. Just think about it.

The first paper is looking at the oldest pictures of stuff that comes out of a man after he has had a fuck. This fuck water is from a small animal with no hard parts and so we usually do not know that the animal was there. However, the fuck water is different for different types of small animal, and so we can see what small animals with no hard parts were there without seeing the actual animals. The fuck water has also been ignored for a long time, so we may be able to find more fuck water and find out more about small animals with no hard parts.

The second paper is looking at some of the earliest things that might be animals and their babies. Looking at where the babies are and where the parents are, the paper tries to work out whether these things that might be animals that fucked or whether they just grew babies off of them on sticks. The numbers show that these maybe animals did not fuck, but grew babies on sticks. Other things that might be animals from the same time did fuck, and they are found in many more places. The fact that these maybe animals grew babies on sticks might explain why they are found in only one place while the ones that did fuck are found in lots of places.

References

Bomfleur, Benjamin, et al. "Fossilized spermatozoa preserved in a 50-Myr-old annelid cocoon from Antarctica." Biology letters 11.7 (2015): 20150431.

Mitchell, Emily G., et al. "Reconstructing the reproductive mode of an Ediacaran macro-organism." Nature (2015).

Direct download: Podcast_65_-_SEX.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about the evolution of quadrupedal lifestyle in ornithischian dinosaurs. Also, James discusses the joys of being a squid, Curt details the ideal political tag-team match,  and Amanda dreams of HD belts.

"Up goer five" text summary

The group talks about big angry animals without hair - again. This time they look at two studies that look at how one group of big angry animals with no hair went from walking on two feet to walking on four. Three different bands of friends in the group have gone back to walking on four feet by themselves. The first paper looks at figuring out the soft parts to work out how they walked and finds that each of these three types of big angry animals without hair walk in different ways, even though they all walk on four feet. The second paper looks at why these three types of animal have gone back to walking on four feet by seeing where they got big and whether it would make them fall forwards or back. This was studied by sticking heavy bits of animals with stuff on them onto animals which did not have stuff on them to see whether it made them fall over. The study shows that the different animal groups went onto four feet for different reasons, and this may explain why the different groups walking on four feet walk in different ways.

References

Maidment, Susannah CR, and Paul M. Barrett. "Does morphological convergence imply functional similarity? A test using the evolution of quadrupedalism in ornithischian dinosaurs." Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 279.1743 (2012): 3765-3771.

Maidment, Susannah CR, Donald M. Henderson, and Paul M. Barrett. "What drove reversions to quadrupedality in ornithischian dinosaurs? Testing hypotheses using centre of mass modelling." Naturwissenschaften 101.11 (2014): 989-1001.

Direct download: Podcast_64_-_Walk_Before_You_Crawl_Convergence_in_Dinosaur_Gait.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about the evolution (and loss) of hypercarnivory in mammals. Meanwhile, Amanda shares more equine history, Curt does his best to kill a trend, and James goes "nuclear". Please bear with us.... BEAR.

"Batty McFaddin" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

References

Van Valkenburgh, Blaire, Xiaoming Wang, and John Damuth. "Cope's rule, hypercarnivory, and extinction in North American canids." Science 306.5693 (2004): 101-104.

Figueirido, B., et al. "Shape at the cross‐roads: homoplasy and history in the evolution of the carnivoran skull towards herbivory." Journal of evolutionary biology 23.12 (2010): 2579-2594.

Direct download: Podcast_63_-_Meaty_The_Evolution_of_Hypercarniovry.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT