Palaeo After Dark

The gang convenes in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the 2024 North American Paleontological Convention. We discuss the various talks we saw and highlights on the event.

Most of Day 2 discussion starts at 1:03:01

Day 3 discussion starts at 2:19:00

Day 4 discussion starts at 3:22:56

Direct download: Podcast_287_-_NAPC_2024.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that study ecological changes in the evolutionary history of some charismatic ancient animal groups. The first paper uses geographic data to infer the timing of the evolution of homeothermy in non-avian dinosaur groups, and the second paper looks at the mechanisms by which cats (and cat-like animals) developed saber teeth. Meanwhile, Curt makes some plans for Amanda, James muddles things over, and Amanda could use another.


Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends talk about two papers that look at how where animals live can change how they look and also maybe how they look can change where they can live. The first paper looks at old big angry animals and where they live to see if they can find when these animals were able to make themselves warm inside. We have other things that make us think that some of these big angry animals may have been able to get warm inside, but that this might have happened a few times in this group. By looking at where these animals were found in the past, they see that there are times when these animals move into places that are colder. They use this to say that these times may be because these animals now being able to make themselves warm inside.

The second paper looks at animals that are cats and cat like animals. Some of these cats and cat like animals have very long teeth. This paper does a lot of things to study how these cats and cat like animals change their heads when they get these big teeth. They find that some of these cat like groups do this in a different way than cats, but also that cats start to change their heads to be a bit more like the cat like things when they get bigger teeth but also not in the same way.



Chiarenza, Alfio Alessandro, et al. "Early Jurassic origin of avian endothermy and thermophysiological diversity in Dinosauria." bioRxiv (2023): 2023-12.

Chatar, Narimane, et al. "Evolutionary patterns of cat-like carnivorans unveil drivers of the sabertooth morphology." Current Biology (2024).

Direct download: Podcast_286_-_Dinosaurs_Sabertooths_and_Mojitos_Oh_My.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look into long term trends in body size over time. The first paper looks at body size trends in corals, and the second looks at body size and ecology of terror birds. Meanwhile, James loses a bit of himself, Amanda is bad at transitions, and Curt goes places no one wants to go.


Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends talk about two papers that look at how big things are and how that changes over time. The first paper looks at tiny animals that live together in a group and share their homes with even smaller living things that help give them food. It turns out that being small makes it good for the smaller things living with them. So this paper wants to see if these animals have been getting smaller over time. Turns out that it is not that easy, and that some of these earlier animals were bigger than today but probably did have even smaller living things with them helping them. But it seems like there is some bit of these animals getting smaller, so maybe these animals have gotten better at building homes for these even smaller living things.

The second paper looks at big angry animals that are close to things that can fly but these big angry animals could not fly. This paper looks to see if these animals lived at the same time and did the same things and were as big as each other, or do we see these animals doing different things at the same time or with one of them being bigger than the other. They find that most of the time, when there are two of these animals living at the same time, they are either doing different things or one of them is much bigger than the other. The paper says this shows that these animals were trying not to fight each other for the same stuff, but the friends have other questions about what could be going on.



LaBarge, Thomas W., Jacob D. Gardner, and Chris L. Organ. "The evolution and ecology of gigantism in terror birds (Aves, Phorusrhacidae)." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 291.2021 (2024): 20240235.

Dimitrijević, Danijela, Nussaïbah B. Raja, and Wolfgang Kiessling. "Corallite sizes of reef corals: decoupling of evolutionary and ecological trends." Paleobiology 50.1 (2024): 43-53.

Direct download: Podcast_285_-_All_Things_Big_and_Small.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT