Palaeo After Dark

The gang discusses two papers about taphonomy and its influence on our understanding of the fossil record. The first paper looks at how taphonomic processes can blur our understanding of cause and effect, while the second paper looks at the impacts of collector and size biases on our understanding of the ecology of an ancient plant. Meanwhile, James deals with spirits, Curt gets philosophical, and Amanda smartly ignores things.


Up-Goer Five (Curt):

The friends talk about two papers that look at the ways in which the things we know can be changed because of other problems that we do not always know are there to make things look like one thing but actually be another thing. The first paper looks at how not getting things to be saved over time could mean that you might not see the reason something happens until it looks like it is after that thing has happened. The paper uses a time in the past when it got very cold and looks at what could have made this happen. There are lots of talk about the growing of big things that make their own food from the sun on land, but this paper shows that what we can see might not be the real time when big things started really doing well. While it sounds strange, it might be best to look at something that we see in the rocks after the time that it gets cold, since the thing that changed probably changed before we can see it in the rocks.

The second paper looks at another thing that makes its own food from the sun. This old thing could have lived in a lot of different ways and there are lots of people who think one way or another. Some think these things need to burn as part of their life, and some people think that these things would live near water and might get burned only sometimes. The people who wrote this paper looked at how people found these things, if they picked up ones that were big or small, and also went out to find more of these things. What they find is that some of the reasons people have not known how these things lived is because we grab big parts to save but most of the things are found as small parts that have burned. This means that it seems that burning was an important part of the lives of these things.



Blanco‐Moreno, Candela, Hugo  Martín‐Abad, and Ángela D. Buscalioni. "Quantitative plant taphonomy:  the cosmopolitan Mesozoic fern Weichselia reticulata as a case study." Palaeontology 65.6 (2022): e12627.

D'Antonio, Michael P., Daniel E. Ibarra, and C. Kevin Boyce. "The preservation of cause and effect in the rock record." Paleobiology 49.2 (2023): 204-214.

Direct download: Podcast_274_-_Cause_and_Effect_and_Cause.mp3
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