Palaeo After Dark

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 ( 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


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.


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.


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).

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.


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.


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 ( 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


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. 


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.


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