Palaeo After Dark

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