Sun, 30 July 2023
The gang discusses two papers that look at examples of unusually large animals in the fossil record; one large lacewing larvae and one very large skink. Meanwhile, James is having a great day, Amanda starts a chant, and Curt learns the true meaning of “cool fossil bro”.
Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):
The friends look at two papers about things that are big for what they are. The first paper is a type of kid of an animal that is small thing that flies when it is grown but does not fly when it is a kid. These animals have a neck when they are kids which some of these animals do not have. This animal has a really long body and a really long neck. They found it in water, so they think this animal would have been a big thing living in the water and eating things that it caught with its long neck.
The second paper looks at another group of animals with cold blood and hard bits on its skin that runs around on four legs. This animal is really big for its group. Parts of this animal were found before, but they were smaller and so they were thought to be something else. This paper finds new parts that show those are parts are from this bigger thing when it was a kid. This big animal is close to another animal that is around today. When this bigger animal died, the smaller animal it is close to came into the same places and seems to have taken its place.
Du, Xuheng, Kecheng Niu, and Tong Bao. "Giant Jurassic dragon lacewing larvae with lacustrine palaeoecology represent the oldest fossil record of larval neuropterans." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 290.1993 (2023): 20222500.
Thorn, Kailah M., et al. "A giant armoured skink from Australia expands lizard morphospace and the scope of the Pleistocene extinctions." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 290.2000 (2023): 20230704.
Sun, 16 July 2023
The gang discusses two papers that look at the ecomorphology of Mesozoic swimming reptiles. The first paper investigates swimming strategies in various marine swimming reptile groups, and the second paper looks at changes in the skull of mosasaurs compared to stem whales. Meanwhile, James has a meal, Amanda “makes” animals, and Curt needs more insight.
Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):
The friends look at two papers that look at how big angry animals that move through the water lived a long time ago. The first paper looks at how these big animals moved through the water, because there are many ways that an animal can move through water. They use numbers to look at how these animals look, and they also use some animals from today that move through water to see if the way they look is like the ones from the past. They find that there are some ways that animals look with their bodies that change how they move through the water. This shows a lot of cool things. Some groups start moving through water in one way and over time move to a different way. This shows that there was a lot of different ways these groups of big angry animals were able to move through the water.
The second paper looks at the heads of one group of big angry animals from the past that move through water and also an old group of big animals with hair that move through water that are still around today. The paper wants to see if both of these groups do the same things with their heads since they are both moving into moving through water. They find that a few of the heads kind of look like each other between these two groups, which could be that they were trying to eat the same things. However, most of the time these two groups are not looking the same in the head. This is because these two groups come from different things and so they are not able to change their head in the same way.
Gutarra, Susana, et al. "The locomotor ecomorphology of Mesozoic marine reptiles." Palaeontology 66.2 (2023): e12645.
Bennion, Rebecca F., et al. "Convergence and constraint in the cranial evolution of mosasaurid reptiles and early cetaceans." Paleobiology 49.2 (2023): 215-231.
Sun, 2 July 2023
The gang discusses two papers that look at the impact of humans on bird populations. The first paper looks at the history of a condor nesting site in the Andes, and the second paper looks at the impact of artificial light on the circadian rhythms of urban bird populations. Meanwhile, James is highly engaged, Curt tries to sell some property, Amanda finds something slightly more horrifying, and everyone is in the presence of ALAN.
Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):
The friends look at how people have made life different for small animals that fly in the air and some of them make sweet sounds. The first paper looks at the home for one type of these animals that is pretty big and eats things that are dead. These animals have been using this home for a really long time, and we can look at their shit (yes this is the only word I can use) to see what they ate in the past and also see how long they have been there. A long time ago, their shit shows that they ate a lot of things from the big blue wet thing, probably lots of big animals that have hair and move through the water. When people started to kill these big animals, these animals that fly started to eat less of them. We can even see when these animals started to eat things that people from across a different big blue wet thing brought with them to eat. This shows that these homes are used for very long time, and so making sure that these animals can get to these homes and that the homes are safe is important to keeping them living.
The second paper looks at how some small animals that fly sleep and if being in a city makes these animals sleep at different times or for longer or shorter. The idea is that the city has a lot more light than the woods and can make it harder to get to sleep. The paper looks at these animals living in the woods and animals living in the city. It first looks at their homes to see how much time they spend in their homes. They find that both groups of animals spend about the same time in their homes. City animals get out of their homes earlier in the day, but that seems to be that they are also setting up their home earlier in the year and need to get out to get stuff for the home. They then take these animals and they put them in a dark room to see how much they move with no change in light. They find the woods animals start moving less right away, but the city animals take longer before they start moving less. This could be because the room has low light and the animals from the city are more used to that, or it could be that the animals from the city are more used to being in bad spots. Either way, it shows that these animals are showing changes to work around the light from the city.
Duda, Matthew P., et al. "A 2200-year record of Andean Condor diet and nest site usage reflects natural and anthropogenic stressors." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 290.1998 (2023): 20230106.
Tomotani, Barbara M., Fabian Timpen, and Kamiel Spoelstra. "Ingrained city rhythms: flexible activity timing but more persistent circadian pace in urban birds." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 290.1999 (2023): 20222605.