Palaeo After Dark

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.


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.


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.


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).