Palaeo After Dark

The gang discusses two papers about the Cretaceous mass extinction event (i.e. the time that the non-avian dinosaurs died). Specifically, they talk about the Deccan Traps, a widespread volcanic province that was active during the extinction event. The first paper studies the timing of the volcanic activity to determine if the onset of volcanism can be explained by the large bollide impact (Editors Note: Apologies to all igneous petrologists who will likely be yelling at our ignorance of hard rock geology). The second paper uses ecological niche modeling to see if dinosaurs were experiencing significant reduction in their geographic range before the extinction event. Also, James is in a “good” mood, so please enjoy as we bounce between topics like Sinclair oil, the French Revolution, “training” children, and experiences at paleo festivals. Its definitely one of those podcasts.


Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about the time when the big angry animals with no hair and large teeth all died. One of the ideas is that a very big rock hit and killed everything. Another idea is that rock that acts like water came out of the ground and changed the air and that killed everything by making things too warm or too cold. Many people are starting to think the rock that acts like water that came out of the ground killed the big angry animals with no hair and large teeth, because it seems like they died more slowly that maybe they should have if a big rock hit the ground and killed everything. That would be very fast. But then maybe the big rock that hit the ground really did kill everything, because it turns out that the rock that acts like water that came out of the ground maybe didn't happen at the same time that the big angry animals with no hair and large teeth died. It might also be that big angry animals with no hair and large teeth were maybe around in more places and maybe there were more big angry animals with no hair and large teeth than we think because we only have rocks in some places from some times and that makes it look like the big angry animals with no hair and large teeth died slowly, but maybe they actually died fast.



 Sprain, Courtney J., et al. "The eruptive tempo of Deccan volcanism in relation to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary." Science 363.6429 (2019): 866-870. 

 Chiarenza, Alfio Alessandro, et al. "Ecological niche modelling does not support climatically-driven dinosaur diversity decline before the Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction." Nature communications 10 (2019). 

Direct download: Podcast_159_-_Rocks_Fall_Everyone_Dies_The_Cretaceous_Mass_Extinction.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates their 6th anniversary by taking some time to talk about two papers about early mammal ecology. The first paper looks at some unique traces left by Mesozoic mammals, while the second paper attempts to determine how early mammals might have chewed their food. Meanwhile, James has made friends with his new Eevee named DMX, Amanda finds the fuel to sustain herself, and Curt imagines some tactical mammal stealth action.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’re wondering if Curt went all the way into making a complete edit on that song near the end….. of course he did: )


Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

Today the group looks at two papers dealing with animals with warm blood and hair and looking at how they lived a long time ago. The first paper is looking at tracks of animals with hair that look a bit weird, with one side pushing down more than the other. The people studying the tracks think that they could have been made by an animal with hair carrying babies on it. This would be interesting as it would suggest that the animals with hair looked after their babies and let them drink warm white wet stuff from their bodies even this long ago. In order to see whether the tracks were made by an animal with hair that carried babies, the people writing the paper took an animal with hair that eats things people throw out but people also keep as animal friends and stuck things to it to make it carry them as if it was carrying babies to see if when it tried to walk it made tracks like they see in the rocks. It really just wanted to lie down but when it did walk it made tracks just like they see in the rock from a long time ago! The second paper is looking at how animals with hair that are around today eat their food and seeing how much it is the same or different to how animals with hair a long time ago ate. They show that they eat a way that we were not thinking they would and actually roll their mouth when biting, and that some of our strangest animals with hair that are part of an older group than most of our other animals with hair actually eat the same was as animals with hair from a very long time ago ate.



Kuznetsov, Alexander N., and Aleksandra A. Panyutina. "First Paleoichnological Evidence for Baby–Riding in Early Mammals." Ameghiniana 55.6 (2018): 668-677. 

 Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S., et al. "Rolling of the jaw is essential for mammalian chewing and tribosphenic molar function." Nature (2019): 1. 



Pokemon and "Pokemon: Let's Go Eevee" are the properties of Nintendo, Creatures, and Game Freak ; "X Gonna Give It To Ya" by DMX owned by Def Jam and the Universal Music Group.

Direct download: Podcast_158_-_Is_DMX_Eevee_a_Mammal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

<EDITORS NOTE: As discussed in the very beginning of the episode, we had some serious audio issues which meant that the recording quality is not up to our usual quality. We apologize for the degraded audio quality in this episode, but future episodes should not have this issue.>

The gang discusses two papers about the interesting vertebrate remains in Myanmar amber, including a neonate snake and an Enantiornithean bird, and discuss the ecological and evolutionary implications of these fossils. Meanwhile, Curt starts a terrible “theory”, James measures his hands, and Amanda might be responsible for some collusion.


Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about very thick stuff that sticks together and comes off of trees and often living things end up inside of it and dying. Most of the time, old tree stuff just has small animals who have their hard parts on the outside. This very old tree stuff is very is not like a lot of other old tree stuff because it also has a lot of big animals in it who have hard parts on the inside. Our friends talk about the animals that ended up inside this old tree stuff. One of the animals in the old tree stuff is a baby long animal without legs. This baby long animal with no legs gives us a look at a type of animal we often do not get to see in old rocks and lets us know that some of these old long animals without legs may have lived in trees. The other parts that ended up in this old tree stuff were from an animal who could fly. One of these animals who could fly ended up in the tree stuff, and all we have left are a foot and part of the arm like thing they use to fly. This animal that can fly shows is very different from the animals that can fly today that are brothers and sisters to it. The foot has things coming off of it that are weird. In both of these papers, we can see how this old tree stuff gives us very important facts about how animals that used to be in the world a long long time ago.



 Xing, Lida, et al. "A mid-Cretaceous embryonic-to-neonate snake in amber from Myanmar." Science advances 4.7 (2018): eaat5042. 

 Xing, Lida, et al. "A fully feathered enantiornithine foot and wing fragment preserved in mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber." Scientific reports 9.1 (2019): 927. 


"Hep Cats" Kevin MacLeod (

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Direct download: Podcast_157_-_A_Sticky_Situation_More_Talk_of_Vertebrates_in_Amber.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT