Palaeo After Dark

The gang steps out of their comfort zone to discuss the changes in the ancient atmosphere that resulted in the Great Oxidation Event. Meanwhile, Amanda demonstrates a careless disregard for hands, James gets creative with spelling, and Curt aims for comedic mediocrity.

Up-Goer 5 Summary (Amanda Edition):

Today the group talks about tiny things that make air that we can breathe. Long, long ago there were many tiny things that made air that we could not breathe. Less long ago there came along some little tiny things that made air that we can breathe. This air that we can breathe made almost all of the other little tiny things die because they could not breathe it. The group talks about these little tiny things that made both good air and bad air and how they made different kinds of rocks and used different kinds of rocks and air to live.


Lyons, Timothy W., Christopher T. Reinhard, and Noah J. Planavsky. "The rise of oxygen in Earth/'s early ocean and atmosphere." Nature 506.7488 (2014): 307-315.

Lalonde, Stefan V., and Kurt O. Konhauser. "Benthic perspective on Earth’s oldest evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112.4 (2015): 995-1000.

Konhauser, Kurt O., et al. "Could bacteria have formed the Precambrian banded iron formations?." Geology 30.12 (2002): 1079-1082.

Johnson, Jena E., et al. "Manganese-oxidizing photosynthesis before the rise of cyanobacteria." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110.28 (2013): 11238-11243.

Czaja, Andrew D., Nicolas J. Beukes, and Jeffrey T. Osterhout. "Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria prior to the Great Oxidation Event from the 2.52 Ga Gamohaan Formation of South Africa." Geology 44.12 (2016): 983-986.

The gang discusses how exceptional fossil preservation can change our understanding of ancient life, focusing specifically on two new studies that offer insight into trilobite reproduction and hyolith evolution respectively. And when faced with the challenge of describing the indescribable weirdness of hyoliths, the gang falls back on their old mainstay of saying "It's weird" and derailing the conversation every five minutes. But hey, there's a 20 minute conversation about science outreach in the middle there that comes out of nowhere that's not terrible.... so that's something...

We're very... very... sorry.


Hegna, Thomas A., Markus J. Martin, and Simon AF Darroch. "Pyritized in situ trilobite eggs from the Ordovician of New York (Lorraine Group): Implications for trilobite reproductive biology." Geology (2017): G38773-1.

Moysiuk, Joseph, Martin R. Smith, and Jean-Bernard Caron. "Hyoliths are Palaeozoic lophophorates." Nature (2017).