Palaeo After Dark

The gang discusses two papers about unique fossil preservation. One paper looks at how fossil root systems can inform our understanding of early Devonian forests, and the other paper shows how slime molds can be preserved in the fossil record. Meanwhile, Amanda is excited for questionable reasons, James prepares for the pain, and Curt learns his role in the friendship.


Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about weird cool things that have only one piece but can get very big, and the tall green things with many pieces above and under ground, that is trees. Because trees is a word we can use. We focus on the pieces under ground. The weird cool things that have only one piece are found in old tree blood. The part of the weird cool things that have only one piece look kind of like things that are good to eat but might also kill you that grow on the ground. They are where the weird cool things that have only one piece make more of themselves. They are very very old but look just like pieces around today. The paper says maybe this is a sign that things stay the same for a very long time because the world around things makes it so, but it is important to remember that sometimes two things that are not close brothers and sisters can look very very much like close brothers and sisters. The tree paper finds very very old tree parts under ground and says that groups of trees a very very long time ago were even more like groups of trees today than maybe we thought. This would make the ground safer for things to live on.   



 Stein, William E., et al. "Mid-Devonian Archaeopteris Roots Signal Revolutionary Change in Earliest Fossil Forests." Current Biology (2019). 

 Rikkinen, Jouko, David A. Grimaldi, and Alexander R. Schmidt. "Morphological stasis in the first myxomycete from the Mesozoic, and the likely role of cryptobiosis." Scientific Reports 9.1 (2019): 1-8. 

Direct download: Podcast_181_-_Before_the_Pain_The_Root_of_the_Problem.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang returns back from their winter break to discuss two papers that look at the important information we can glean from soft-bodied organisms in the fossil record. First, we take a look at a paper that shows some incredible preservation of Cretaceous snails in amber and how we can use that exceptionally preserved material to infer important information about the evolutionary history of these groups. Second, we talk about a cool example where hypotheses pulled from trace fossils can inform the distribution of modern worm species. Meanwhile, Amanda was not content with being driven mad by just TWO cats, James somehow manages to complain about being good at things, Curt spills the secrets on his friends, the internet TOTALLY doesn’t mess up our recording, SpaceX should probably paint their satellites, and we completely stay on topic this entire time….. believe me…..


Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition)

The friends talk about two papers about things that have soft bodies. First, the friends talk about a paper where a soft animal who makes a hard home out of rock that it carries around with it was stuck in some stuff that comes off of trees. This stuff that comes off of trees made it so that things we usually do not see got saved in the rocks. This allows us to see all of these different soft things that don't show up in rocks. People used these bits of tree stuff with soft things in them to find out that some of the soft things we see today in these animals that make a home for themselves out of rock may have first showed up very very long ago. They use this to try to find out when these groups of animals may have first showed up.

Next, our friends look at the changes in broken up bits of rock that form from soft and long animals live in the ground. As these animals move through the ground, they leave behind remains of where they were that can be seen in the broken up bits of rock they live in. These remains are usually very much the same when they are made by soft and long animals which live in very much the same way. One type of remain is usually found in places that are cold, but some people think they have found some of these remains in places that are usually pretty hot. This might be because there are ways that water moves which can cause areas that are usually very hot to have very cold water in them. That might make it just right for these soft and long animals which form these remains to live and be happy. To figure out if this is true, people went to a very warm place where in one side of the land the water was very cold and on the other side it was very warm. What they found was that the cold side had these remains, but the warm side did not. This means that these animals can live in warm places if the changes in the water allow for places with cold water.



Hirano, Takahiro, et al. "Cretaceous amber fossils highlight the evolutionary history and morphological conservatism of land snails." Scientific reports 9.1 (2019): 1-16. 

 Quiroz, Luis I., et al. "the search for an elusive worm in the tropics, the past as a key to the present, and reverse uniformitarianism." Scientific Reports 9.1 (2019): 1-8. 

Direct download: Podcast_180_-_Worms_and_Snails.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT