Palaeo After Dark

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST