Palaeo After Dark (general)

The gang discusses two papers that look at ecological patterns in the Mesozoic. The first paper looks at ecomorphic trends in Triassic herbivorous tetrapods, while the second paper uses morphological and chemical evidence to estimate the behavioral patterns of Cretaceous mosasaurs. Meanwhile, James has ideas about electrolites, Curt has a 99% average, and Amanda manages to record an entire podcast while having vertigo (that last bit isn’t a joke).

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about where and how things live. The first paper looks at all kinds of animals with four feet that eat green things from the first part of the age of big angry animals with lots of teeth and no hair. This paper is trying to use the parts of the animal's face to see how they eat. There are different kinds of ways to eat green things, and some ways of doing things have more types of these animals with four feet than others. They also find that there are big changes that happen at some times in different groups of these animals. The second paper is really cool and looks at big angry animals with hard skin that go back to the water. This paper shows that these big angry animals, which live in water that isn't good to drink, sometimes go to places where there is more water that is good to drink. Some go back to water that is good to drink every 4 to 7 days if they live in one place, or 12 to 20 days if they live in the other place. It is possible that these big angry animals with hard skin that go back to the water might have also gone from top of the world towards the middle of the world over longer times, and back again, like animals with light bodies and no teeth and no hair, but they are not sure here, they need to look more.

 

References:

Taylor, Leah Travis, et al. "Oxygen  isotopes from the teeth of Cretaceous marine lizards reveal their  migration and consumption of freshwater in the Western Interior Seaway,  North America." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 573 (2021): 110406.

Singh, Suresh A., et al. "Niche partitioning shaped herbivore macroevolution through the early Mesozoic." Nature communications 12.1 (2021): 1-13.

Direct download: Podcast_216_-_Salty_Tooth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that are loosely connected by the fact that they include mammals. The first paper looks at the biomechanics of a type of sabre tooth cat. The second paper analyzes the stability of mammal communities in deep time. Meanwhile, James loves the fans, Amanda is hemmed in by sound, Curt tries to avoid a lawsuit, and everyone really bungles explaining a paper on what is supposedly a scientific podcast.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two very different papers that are still about things with hair that are warm. The first paper looks at some of these animals with hair that had a set of very long teeth in their mouth that look like things we use to cut people. These animals all had many different types of long teeth, but we usually thought that they might be doing a lot of the same things just because so few other animals with hair get sets of teeth that long. This paper looks at the other parts of one of these animals with long teeth and finds that it is very different from many of the other animals with long teeth. A lot of animals with long teeth could run quick for a short time, while this animal looks like it could run for long times. This animal looks like it could chase things for a longer time, while the other animals with long teeth may have surprised their food. This is cool because it means that animals may have got long teeth for different reasons.

The second paper looks at groups of animals living together and sees how those groups change over time. They are looking to see if those groups can stay more or less the same across a long time, and also what helps these groups to not change. What they find is that in the area they are looking, there are three different groups that form and more or less stay the same until they suddenly change. These sudden changes happen when the world around them changes a lot. The groups remain more or less the same though before these really big changes in the world. Also, the groups can remain more or less the same even if the animals in those groups change over time. The thing that seems to be important in keeping these groups more or less the same is how the groups are built. Groups with a lot of different jobs for animals to do seem to be better at staying more or less the same over a long time.

 

References:

DeSantis, Larisa RG, et al. "Dietary ecology of the scimitar-toothed cat Homotherium serum." Current Biology (2021).

Blanco, Fernando, et al. "Punctuated ecological equilibrium in mammal communities over evolutionary time scales." Science 372.6539 (2021): 300-303.

Direct download: Podcast_215_-_Ostensibly_a_Science_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two examples where extinction may have been very important in directing the evolution of mammals through time. The first paper looks at the impact of other mammals groups on the morphology of earlier therians, and the second paper looks at how extinction could explain some of the patterns observed in the Great American Interchange. Meanwhile, James learns some things, Curt steps out, Amanda imagines the end.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about animals with hair. The first paper talks about animals with hair, and that ideas were had a while ago about how old kinds of animals with hair just weren't as good as new kinds of animals with hair, and that the very big angry animals with lots of teeth and no hair made the animals with hair from the same time stay small and not good. But it turns out that even after the very big angry animals with lots of teeth and no hair went away the animals with hair were still all very much the same and didn't do anything fun until much longer after the very big angry animals with lots of teeth and no hair were gone. That means that the very big angry animals with lots of teeth and no hair didn't really keep the animals with hair from being any good. The other paper talks about animals with hair from the upper part of the colder area of land in the "new" half of the world (which is not new but that's the only word we can use in this stupid word thing) moved into the usually warmer lower area of land in the "new" half of the world. It talks about how upper animals with hair moved into lower areas of land, and how lower animals with hair moved into upper areas of land. However, more upper animals moved into lower areas of land. And they wanted to know why. It turns out that more animals with hair that lived in the lower part of the "new" half of the world were dying as the places changed and got colder. We used to think just that it was upper animals with hair were better at living than lower ones, but that isn't true. It's just that there was space for upper animals to move in, and they could use the area better than lower animals with hair that moved to the upper part of the "new" half of the world.

 

References:

Carrillo, Juan D., et al.  "Disproportionate extinction of South American mammals drove the  asymmetry of the Great American Biotic Interchange." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117.42 (2020): 26281-26287.

Brocklehurst, Neil, et al. "Mammaliaform extinctions as a driver of the morphological radiation of Cenozoic mammals." Current Biology (2021).

Direct download: Podcast_214_-_Dead_Mammals.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about unique adaptations in the fossil record, the first is a paper about pterosaurs that have opposable thumbs and the second paper talks about burrowing synapsids. Meanwhile, Discord is silencing James, Amanda fact checks, and Curt messes everything up…. like EVERYTHING.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends look at some things that make very old animals that are not close to other animals look like those other animals. First our friends talk about an animal that had a very long ring finger with long skin on it and could fly. This is a pretty early animal that had a very long ring finger with long skin on it. People have thought that maybe animals that had a very long ring finger with long skin on it lived in trees. A new animal was found that had a first finger that can move across from the others, like people have on their hands. This means that this animal that had a very long ring finger with long skin on it could grab onto trees and hold them, which means they probably did live in trees. The second paper our friends look at looked at very old animals that had hair. Some of these are not even really animals that have hair like the ones that live today, because the three hard pieces inside the ear are not all the way in there yet. But these animals that had hair had some things that are like each other, because they had very big hands with heavy hard pieces in them that means they move in the ground. They push the ground around and are found under it. These are the oldest kinds of animals with hair that do this, and they also do some strange things with their hard bits that make up their back. This might be a thing that animals with hair living under the ground just do.

 

References:

Zhou, Xuanyu, et al. "A new darwinopteran pterosaur reveals arborealism and an opposed thumb." Current Biology (2021).

Mao, Fangyuan, et al. "Fossoriality and evolutionary development in two Cretaceous mammaliamorphs." Nature (2021): 1-6.

Direct download: Podcast_213_-_Bringing_our_C_Game.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that talk about T-Rex, and also the interesting way that these papers were discussed in popular culture. The first paper looks at the walking speed of T-Rex, and the second paper estimates how many T-Rex could have lived on Earth at any given time. Meanwhile, James is so very tired, Amanda loves soap, and Curt picks the worst transitions.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends talk about a big angry animal that a lot of people know about. The first paper looks at how quickly that big angry animal could walk. Most animals with four legs / arms all walk about as fast as each other, even if the animals are big or small. Early work had made it seem that the big angry animal may have walked faster than the animals today. These early papers were looking at the foot falls of these big angry animals. This new paper looks at the big long part that comes off the end of these angry animals. The paper says that these big angry animals walked about as fast as any animal today even though they were big and angry and walked in a funny way.

The second paper tries to use the parts of these big angry animals that have turned into rocks to try and figure out how many of these big angry animals may have been living at any given time. It looks at how many animals we see around today to do this, and sees that the number of animals may be controlled by how much food the animals need to keep eating. Some animals burn a lot of food which means there can not be as many of them in an area. This means you can use how much food an animal burns to try and figure out how many animals could have been living in an area at any time. So they use this and some other numbers to try and figure out how many of these big animals were around in the past. This also allows them to figure out how many of the big angry animals may have been covered in ground and have their parts turned to rocks and how many were not.

 

References:

Marshall, Charles R., et al. "Absolute abundance and preservation rate of Tyrannosaurus rex." Science 372.6539 (2021): 284-287.

van Bijlert, Pasha A., AJ ‘Knoek van  Soest, and Anne S. Schulp. "Natural Frequency Method: estimating the  preferred walking speed of Tyrannosaurus rex based on tail natural  frequency." Royal Society Open Science 8.4 (2021): 201441.

Direct download: Podcast_212_-_Ruining_T-Rex.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang talks about two papers that look at changes in ecological interactions through deep time. The first paper looks at how ecological networks changed from the Permian into the Triassic, and the second paper looks at how echinoid diversity patterns compare to echinoid predation patterns. Meanwhile, James has some choice words about Elon Musk, Amanda’s stream is torn “into pieces”, and Curt once again would really like to start the second half of the podcast…

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about how animals and things that are not animals can build a place to live together, and how that changes over time. The first paper looks at how the places these animals and not animals build can change when things get really bad. It looks at two places in the past and uses numbers to see how these places change by getting more busy or less busy. They find that before most of the times when lots of stuff died, the places built by these animals and not animals were getting easy to fall to pieces. This is not true for this one time where things go really bad though, which is interesting and means that what was happening when things got really bad must be different.

The second paper looks at how a round animal in the water with hard hurt causing parts have changed over time and tries to see if being eaten caused some change. The paper finds that there are some changes that happen when we see these things get eaten, but also a lot of the changes are happening before we see these things get eaten.

 

References:

Petsios, Elizabeth, et al. "An  asynchronous Mesozoic marine revolution: the Cenozoic intensification of  predation on echinoids." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288.1947 (2021): 20210400.

Huang, Yuangeng, et al. "Ecological  dynamics of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems across three  mid-Phanerozoic mass extinctions from northwest China." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288.1947 (2021): 20210148.

Direct download: Podcast_211_-_Fossil_Ecological_Networks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the ecology of the ancient shark Megalodon. One paper uses our knowledge of modern sharks to fill in the missing data on what Megalodon could have looked like, and the other looks for evidence of Megalodon nurseries in the fossil record. Meanwhile, Amanda cares too much, James spreads “facts”, and Curt would really like to find a segue.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that are about a really big angry animal with large teeth that moved through the water and is known by a lot of people. This animal with big teeth lived a long time ago and would have eaten other really big animals. But because most of this animal is made of soft parts, we do not know a lot about what it would have looked like. So the first paper uses other animals which are very close to this big animal (but not as big) and see how they all look to see if bigger things look the same. They find that they can guess what parts of these animals should look like just by looking at their teeth, which is cool! They then use this to guess what this really big old animal could have looked like.

The second paper looks at how these big animals would have raised their babies. Some places where we get teeth from these big animals do not have a lot of big teeth, while other places do not have a lot of small teeth. This paper looks at these places to see if the change in how big the teeth are is important. They find that some areas really do have more small than big teeth. Some areas also have more teeth that are between being big or small. It seems that smaller animals (babies) lived in some areas, and then when they get bigger they move out.

 

References:

Herraiz, Jose L., et al. "Use of nursery areas by the extinct megatooth shark Otodus megalodon (Chondrichthyes: Lamniformes)." Biology letters 16.11 (2020): 20200746.

Cooper, Jack A., et al. "Body dimensions of the extinct giant shark Otodus megalodon: a 2D reconstruction." Scientific reports 10.1 (2020): 1-9.

Direct download: Podcast_210_-_Mega_Shark_Doot_Do_Do_Do.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at how animals take up space in a community. The first paper looks at ancient reef systems and uses spatial analysis to infer ecological interactions between corals. The second paper looks at the impact that lions have on other predators in South African reserves. Meanwhile, Amanda loves a number, James is an adult, and Curt has some strange ideas about pizza.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about space. Not the cool space, with stars, but the space between animals. The first paper looks at tiny animals that form big groups that look like rocks. There are two kinds of tiny animals that formed big groups that look like rocks from a long time ago. In the first paper, it turns out that some of the tiny animals that formed big groups that look like rocks settle in a space and then make it better for other types of tiny animals that formed big groups that look like rocks. Sometimes we would think that these animals would fight and would not want to help each other, but it turns out that actually they might really need each other to live in a place. This paper uses new ways of doing things, so their stuff is really cool, but is also really new; it's never been done on tiny animals that formed big groups that look like rocks before, only on big tall green trees. So more stuff needs to be done with this new way of doing things. The second paper looks at large animals where boys have lots of hair around their heads and necks and the girls do all the work. The short of it is that when these large animals where boys have lots of hair around their heads are around, there aren't as many smaller things that eat other animals. But there seem to be more kinds of smaller things that eat other animals when large animals where boys have lots of hair around their heads and necks are around. So it is kind of weird.

 

References:

Dhungana, Alavya, and Emily Mitchell. "Facilitating corals in an early Silurian deep-water assemblage." (2020).

Curveira-Santos, Gonçalo, et al. "Mesocarnivore community structuring in the presence of Africa's apex predator." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288.1946 (2021): 20202379.

Direct download: Podcast_209_-_Spacing_Out.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that look at community structure in fossil and modern biota. The first paper looks at the size distribution of dinosaur communities and finds an interesting lack of mid-sized predators. The second paper looks at a modern kelp forest community to determine if fishing refugia results in ecological cascades in this system. Meanwhile, James is a magician, Amanda would rather be playing D&D, and Curt remembers Dino Riders.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends look at two papers that look at how animals live together in a place. The first looks at some very old and angry animals. When people look at how big these old angry animals are, they find something weird. If we look at all the angry things, we have a lot of big things, some small things, but not that much in the middle. When we look at that only eat things that get their food from the sun and see how they are different from the things that eat other animals, they find that this missing middle is because there are no middle animals in the things that eat other animals. One thought for why this could be is that some of the real big animals that eat other animals might have kids that fill the middle when they start to grow up.

The second paper looks at these places in the water that you can't drink where there are things that move through the water, things that move on the ground and have big hard things on them that come to points, and things that make food from the sun which are big and green. In a lot of places like this, if there are not some animals that eat a lot, the things with the points can eat all of the big green things. This place doesn't have one of those animals that eats a lot, but it was a place where people can not go in and grab some of the animals that move in the water. Since there are still big green things here, the people who wrote this paper wanted to see if the animals in the water were good at eating the animals with points. It seems that, while the animals in the water are doing better, so are the animals with points. This means that other things must be going on to let the big green things still be there.

 

References:

Malakhoff, Katrina D., and Robert J. Miller. "After 15 years, no evidence for trophic cascades in marine protected areas." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288.1945 (2021): 20203061.

Schroeder, Katlin, S. Kathleen Lyons,  and Felisa A. Smith. "The influence of juvenile dinosaurs on community  structure and diversity." Science 371.6532 (2021): 941-944.

Direct download: Podcast_208_-_Stable_States.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at snake evolution and ecology. The first paper looks at the evolutionary steps required for venom spitting behavior in cobras, and the second paper looks at how snake populations in the tropics are being impacted by mass amphibian die offs. Meanwhile, James likes the Resident Evil Lady, Curt meets big Bowser, and Amanda has a BIIIIG beer.

 

Up-Goer Fiver (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about long animals with no legs. Some of these long animals have bad stuff that they can put into your body. The long animals that can make the bad stuff and also make their neck really wide are a group of long animals that have some animals that can push the bad stuff out of their body a great way away from their body. The first paper our friends talk about is trying to find out how these long animals that can push bad stuff a far way out of their body were able to do this. Did they get it from their moms and dads a long long time ago. The paper looks at what the bad stuff is made of, and finds that the things that are close family with the long things that can push bad stuff far away have bad stuff that looks the same. But there is one part of the bad stuff that there is more of in the things that push bad stuff far away that isn't in all of the long animals. The cool thing is, the moms and dads of these animals had this other bad stuff even though they do not push bad stuff far away from their bodies. This means that the other bad stuff changed first, and then the long animals started pushing bad stuff far away from their bodies.

The second paper looks at how long animals are hurt when their food goes away. Another group of animals that breathe through their skin has been having a real hard time because they keep getting sick. This paper looks at how the sick animals that breathe through the skin are causing some of the long animals to die because they can no longer get as much food (from the animals that breathe through their skin). Some long animals are doing really well, but most of the long animals are not doing well. This means that something that hurts one group of animals can and will hurt a lot of other animals over time.

 

References:

Zipkin, Elise F., et al. "Tropical snake diversity collapses after widespread amphibian loss." Science 367.6479 (2020): 814-816.

Kazandjian, Taline D., et al. "Convergent evolution of pain-inducing defensive venom components in spitting cobras." Science 371.6527 (2021): 386-390.

Direct download: Podcast_207_-_Sneks_and_the_Toad_Wars.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at evidence for past behavior in the fossil record using both fossil and modern data. The first looks at the evolution of vibration sensing organs in bird beaks, and the second paper looks at how shark teeth within the genus Otodus changed through time. Meanwhile, the gang spends the first 11 minutes arguing about bagels.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group look at two papers that look at how different types of face have come about in different groups in order to do or eat different things. The first paper looks at the hard face of animals that fly, especially some that have lots of little spaces inside the hard face that allow them to feel things without touching them. The paper shows that the flying animals that can feel things without touching them are not close family, but that when they do begin to feel things without touching them they end up doing it the same way every time. Also some of the earliest things that could fly could feel things without touching them, so all the different ones that feel things without feeling them may be able to do it because it is something that deep down they have because their oldest family did. The other paper looks at big angry animals that breathe water that are more big and angry. It looks at the teeth to see if as these animals got bigger their teeth changed so that they could eat bigger food. The study actually shows that the teeth did not get better at eating big food, but that the way the teeth change might be because they are growing for longer as the animal gets bigger, and that this same thing might explain why those around today eat such a wide type of foods.

 

References:

du Toit, C. J., A. Chinsamy, and S. J. Cunningham. "Cretaceous origins of the vibrotactile bill-tip organ in birds." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287.1940 (2020): 20202322.

Ballell, Antonio, and Humberto G.  Ferrón. "Biomechanical insights into the dentition of megatooth sharks  (Lamniformes: Otodontidae)." Scientific reports 11.1 (2021): 1-9.

Direct download: Podcast_206_-_In_The_Face.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at how competition, environment, and biogeography affect macroevolutionary patterns. The first paper looks at the evolution of bird beaks, and the second paper looks at patterns in horse evolution. Meanwhile, James has “some” gin, Amanda practices her “reviewer” skills, and Curt enjoys some last minute “honesty”.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

Today the group look at two papers that are interested in what causes animals to change their form over time. The first paper looks at animals with hard noses that fly to see what causes the nose to change, especially whether close friends wanting to eat the same food makes them change. The paper studies many different groups of animals with hard noses that fly and found that while some groups do show some sign of changing because close friends want to eat the same food, it is not all parts of the animal that changes and most groups do not show any sign of changing because of it at all. The second paper looks at scared animals that run on one finger to see what caused their legs to change over time. It shows that the scared animals that run on one finger living on different big bits of land had different legs, and that their legs changed when they moved into new places so that they could walk across the different types of land they found.

 

References:

MacLaren, Jamie A. "Biogeography a key influence on distal forelimb variation in horses through the Cenozoic." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288.1942 (2021): 20202465.

Chira, A. M., et al. "The signature of competition in ecomorphological traits across the avian radiation." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287.1938 (2020): 20201585.

Direct download: Podcast_205_-_Horse_Couture.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at interesting new arthropod fossil finds. The first paper is the discovery of a new early arthropod which complicates our understanding of their evolution, and the second paper is a large deposit of trace fossils which could be caused by mass arthropod molting. Meanwhile, James has issues with formatting, Amanda’s cat is a butt, and Curt has some important legal disclaimers to share.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about some animals with many legs that lived in the water and lose their hard skin a long time ago. The first paper is talking about a new type of these animals from a very long time ago which has a lot of different parts on it which look like parts that are found in different animals from around that same time. It has really long arms and also five eyes. These very different parts that don't look like they go together means that it can tell us a lot about how these animals with many legs that lose their hard skin have changed over time. And then our friends run out of things to talk about.

The second paper looks at marks left in the broken up bits of rock. These marks were probably made by one of these animals with many legs that was in the middle of breaking out of its hard skin. The marks look the animals put their bottoms in the ground as they broke out of their skin. Also, the type of broken up bits of rock leads the people who wrote the paper to think that these animals might be moving to place that is not great to live in in order for them to be safe when they break out of their skin. They find lots of marks in the broken up its of rock all at the same time. This might mean that the animals that made these marks were able to move into these places just to break out of their skin.

 

References:

Mángano, M. Gabriela, et al.  "Paleoecologic and paleoenvironmental implications of a new trace fossil  recording infaunal molting in Devonian marginal-marine settings." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 561 (2021): 110043.

Zeng, Han, et al. "An early Cambrian euarthropod with radiodont-like raptorial appendages." Nature 588.7836 (2020): 101-105.

Direct download: Podcast_204_-_Cool_Arthropod_Bro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates the end of the year by taking another break to play Fiasco, a crime/noir storytelling game by Bully Pit Games.

 

Thank you for subscribing to our Mars Inc. weekly newsletter. We value your continued engagement with the Mars Inc. brand. Currently, Mars Inc. is undergoing an aggressive restructuring campaign that will improve efficiency and ensure larger shares for our top job creators. While we are unfortunately still in the planning process, we look forward to sharing our future for the company at our next shareholders meeting next month.

 

“Mars Inc.” is a story of greed, chaos, and unlikely revolutionaries.

 

Music from Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_203c_-_Mars_Inc_Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates the end of the year by taking another break to play Fiasco, a crime/noir storytelling game by Bully Pit Games.

 

Congratulations, your application to relocate to the Mars Incorporated Colony has been approved! Mars Incorporated is the premiere future forward, ever-expanding, corporate city state in the Milky Way Galaxy. We only employ experts whose work is on the cutting edge of future technologies. And we pride ourselves on always pushing against the outer limits of the possible, and we are excited to have you joining our team. When you arrive, a sophisticated group of artificial intelligence units and computationally intensive algorithms will assign you to the position best suited for your skills. Then you will enjoy the true splendor and standard of living that is only possible because of Mars Incorporated.

Welcome to Mars Inc., where the future is now!™

 

“Mars Inc.” is a story of greed, chaos, and unlikely revolutionaries.

 

Music from Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_203b_-_Mars_Inc_Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

This year, we’re peeling back to curtain to give everyone a peak at how we build our holiday fiasco episode. Join us as Curt, James, Amanda, Aly, Brendan, and Antony build up the characters and start forming the main conflicts for our holiday episode, “Mars Incorporated”.

Direct download: Podcast_203a_-_Planning_the_Fiasco.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that examine the roles of competition, biogeography, and niche evolution in macroevolution. The first paper looks at the expansion of angiosperms and correlates it with the extinction of gymnosperms, and the second paper looks at the complex ways the Great American Interchange affected niches in South America. Meanwhile, Amanda goes for the eyes, James has a device, and Curt gives sound penguin "facts".

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about two papers that talk about how things can act on other things but maybe not really. The first paper looks at green things that don't move. There are two sorts of green things that don't move, pointed ones and paper-like ones. Pointed ones today live in the UP or other high places like big tall places or cold places, or places with bad ground. Paper-like ones live all places and are even the stuff you need to cut in the summer. People think the paper-like ones were better at making it than the pointed ones, so they beat the pointed ones after the time of the big angry animals with no hair and big teeth and so now live in all places. This paper shows that maybe that is part of it, but also maybe it is very hard to see and might be from lots of different things, even things like the world getting cold. (But the paper has a story and says it is maybe most that they were better at making it, which might not be true.) The second paper looks at a time when the high places and low places in the "new half" of the world came together and different things moved high while others moved low. It was thought that maybe things from the high places were better at making it, but looking at the types of green things that the  moving things were eating shows that even before the two places came together, the green things were already changing and things could change with them.

 

References: 

Reeves, Jane C., et al. "Evolution of ecospace occupancy by Mesozoic marine tetrapods." Palaeontology (2020).

Lautenschlager, Stephan, et al. "Morphological convergence obscures functional diversity in sabre-toothed carnivores." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287.1935 (2020): 20201818.

Direct download: Podcast_202_-_The_Great_Plant_American_Interchange.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about things with legs…. and the word snake is their name. Honestly, we’ve had flimsier excuses for a podcast, just go with it. The first paper looks at a specimen of a legged snake, and the second paper discusses potential evolutionary pathways for convergent evolution in a group of penguin like animals closely related to snake birds (Plotopterids). Meanwhile, Amanda’s computer is doing just fine, James is otter-ly amazing, and Curt knows when to end on top.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers which look at animals with legs. The first is an animal that today doesn't have legs but a long time ago animals like it did have legs, very tiny and weird legs. This first paper talks about a dead body of one of these animals with tiny weird legs from a long time ago which has more parts than most. Most other dead bodies we find do not have much of a head, which is really important for deciding how much these old things from a long time ago are the same as the animals that don't have legs today. This dead body has a head, which is cool. It seems that animals without legs first had heads that look like they are today and then lost their legs.

The second paper looks at animals that usually fly but these animals move through water. Some animals move through the water with their arms, but others use their legs to push them through the water. The ones that use their legs seem to drop into the water from above, while others of these animal that can not fly use their arms to move in the water. However, some older animals use their legs to move in the water and did not fly, so this is hard to say for sure. There are also animals in the past who looked like the animals that do not fly, but they seem to move in the water with their legs, not their arms.

 

References:

Garberoglio, Fernando F., et al. "New  skulls and skeletons of the Cretaceous legged snake Najash, and the  evolution of the modern snake body plan." Science advances 5.11 (2019): eaax5833.

Mayr, Gerald, et al. "Comparative  osteology of the penguin‐like mid‐Cenozoic Plotopteridae and the  earliest true fossil penguins, with comments on the origins of  wing‐propelled diving." Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research (2020).

Direct download: Podcast_201_-_Its_Got_Legs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates hitting the milestone of 200 podcast episodes by returning to a topic related to their first episode, sharks. The first paper looks at how shark size has changed through time, and the second paper looks at the different ways whirl-toothed sharks were able to eat their food. Meanwhile, James has ideas about the success of Disney movies, Amanda comes back at the wrong time, Curt quotes the good batman movies, and everyone has real troubles just starting the damn podcast (Podcast officially starts getting on topic at 18:15).

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

This week the group recognize their two hundred shout sound by looking at some papers that cover an idea that is close to an idea they talked about when they did their first real shout sound (which is not the first actual shout sound). The first paper is looking at how big animals that live in the water and have big teeth get large. It gets lots of teeth and looks at animals that live in the water and have big teeth today as well as some animals that live in the water and have big teeth that lived in the past and are known from their whole bodies in order to work out how big they got from just their teeth. It then asks why they got big, and suggests a number of reasons such as that maybe the need to have big babies made them get big, which made them have bigger babies and made them get bigger still. The other paper looks at some weird animals that live in the water with big teeth that have teeth running down the middle of the mouth rather than around it. It looks at both the teeth and also the rest of the head in a couple of animals and shows that they eaten in different ways, and that some would have used their strange teeth to pull animals with many arms from their hard homes, while others would break the homes of the animals with many arms to eat them.

 

References:

Tapanila, Leif, et al. "Saws, scissors, and sharks: Late Paleozoic experimentation with symphyseal dentition." The Anatomical Record 303.2 (2020): 363-376.

Shimada, Kenshu, Martin A. Becker, and  Michael L. Griffiths. "Body, jaw, and dentition lengths of macrophagous  lamniform sharks, and body size evolution in Lamniformes with special  reference to ‘off-the-scale’gigantism of the megatooth shark, Otodus  megalodon." Historical Biology (2020): 1-17.

Direct download: Podcast_200_-_Going_Full_Circle_of_Teeth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look in detail at examples of convergence in the fossil record. The first paper uses multivariate statistics to create an “eco-space” in order to study how ecological roles of marine tetrapods changed over the Mesozoic. The second paper looks at the evolutionary history and functional morphology of sabre-teeth in mammals. Meanwhile, James tries a new flavor, Amanda is bathed in soft focus, and Curt details Superman’s side hustle.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at how animals change and are changed by the world around them. The first paper looks at the jobs that animals do and how those jobs have changed over time. They look at animals with a hard part in their back and four legs which go back into the water and use some number work to see what job each animal has, and how those jobs change over time. They find that there are many things that can happen in these four legged animals that go back to the water. One cool thing is that when one animal goes away for all time, a new animal can come in that does the old animal's job. But this new animal doesn't do exactly the same job as the old one.

The second paper looks at cats and other animals with long teeth. These cats have usually been put into two big groups because of how these long teeth look and thought that these big groups came about because these cats ate different things. This paper looks at all of these cats and not cat things with long teeth and finds that even inside these two big groups, cats are eating other things a probably doing a lot of different jobs. They find that these long teeth may not be used in the way that we thought they were used, and that cats may have been able to use these long teeth for many different jobs. This is important because getting long teeth is a thing that is older than just cats.

 

References:

Lautenschlager, Stephan, et al. "Morphological convergence obscures functional diversity in sabre-toothed carnivores." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287.1935 (2020): 20201818.

Reeves, Jane C., et al. "Evolution of ecospace occupancy by Mesozoic marine tetrapods." Palaeontology (2020).

Direct download: Podcast_199_-_Ecological_Convergence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about interesting finds in the bones of fossil vertebrates. The first paper looks at the evolution of bony parts in early fishes, and the second paper shows a fascinating example of ontological change in a species of sauropod dinosaur. Meanwhile, Amanda’s best ideas are ignored, James has unconventional bread opinions, Curt offers some advice, and everyone spends their time just negging a baby.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends look at two papers that look at things with a back. The first paper looks at the hard parts that make up these early things that lived in the water. Many people think that some of these early things do not have inside hard parts that are the same as the inside hard parts of other things that are around today which move in the water. However, this paper looks at one of these early things and finds that it does have these inside hard parts. And it turns out, that things that appear after it then lost these inside hard parts. What we thought before was wrong; these inside hard parts seem to have appeared and disappeared in these early things that move through the water.

The next paper is about a baby that is not good to look at. The baby is of a very big animal with four legs and a long neck. This is the first time we have seen a baby of this animal and it looks very strange. The eyes of the baby are more forward than the eyes of the grown up, meaning that the eyes must move as the baby gets older. This is not something that anyone thought would happen before we found this baby. There is a lot to talk about with this baby, but our friends just talk about how weird it is.

 

References:

Kundrát, Martin, et al. "Specialized Craniofacial Anatomy of a Titanosaurian Embryo from Argentina." Current Biology (2020).

Brazeau, Martin D., et al. "Endochondral bone in an Early Devonian ‘placoderm’ from Mongolia." Nature: Ecology and Evolution (2020).

Direct download: Podcast_198_-_Ugly_Baby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that investigate niche partitioning and the ecological impacts on bird beak evolution. Honestly, this podcast is just a grab bag of different topics loosely connected together as an excuse for James to continue to espouse his beliefs on pies. The gang discusses one paper about a long necked reptile and another paper about beak morphological evolution in Aves. Meanwhile, Amanda is a Samurai Jack fan apparently, James likes his papers short, and Curt kills an old joke.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends look at two papers that look at faces. The first paper looks at this strange thing that lived in water and had a very long neck and small head. When people found these strange things, there was always a big one and a small one. Most people thought the small one was just a baby of the big one. This paper shows that the small ones were not babies, and in fact they actually lived in a different way from the big one. This means there was more than one of these strange things living in the same place at the same time, and the fact that they lived in different ways may be way they could have been able to stay so close without causing the other ones to die out from there not being enough food.

The second paper looks at the faces of animals that fly. These faces change a lot because the face is what they use to eat. Some of these animals that fly seem to have faces that look like they are that way because of the things they eat, but others of these animals do not seem to do this. This paper studies lots of these things that fly and looks at how they are brother and sister to each other. What they find is that groups that eat a few types of things have fast changing faces, while other groups do not have fast moving faces. In short, why some faces change and others do not seems to be something that does not have an easy answer and that is cool.

 

References:

Felice, Ryan N., et al. "Dietary niche and the evolution of cranial morphology in birds." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286.1897 (2019): 20182677. 

Spiekman, Stephan NF, et al. "Aquatic  Habits and Niche Partitioning in the Extraordinarily Long-Necked  Triassic Reptile Tanystropheus." Current Biology (2020).

Direct download: Podcast_197_-_Pie_Heresy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the wealth of information left behind on fossil bones which can let us know about the many organisms which worked to break down and decay dead animals. These feeding traces give clues to the presence of animals that might not easily fossilize. Plus, this topic is an excuse for James to suggest two papers that involve dead dinosaurs. Meanwhile, Curt starts a business, Amanda goes prepper, and James wonders about the taphonomy of Shrek.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about things that eat the dead. These two papers look at marks on the hard parts of dead angry animals that are caused by other animals eating the dead bodies. The first paper looks at lots of different marks from many different small animals. These marks let us know that these animals were living there, even when we don't have good bodies of those animals. We can learn a lot about the different types of animals from these marks. The second paper looks at marks that they think were made by small warm animals with hair.

 

References:

McHugh, Julia B., et al.  "Decomposition of dinosaurian remains inferred by invertebrate traces on  vertebrate bone reveal new insights into Late Jurassic ecology, decay,  and climate in western Colorado." PeerJ 8 (2020): e9510.

Augustin, Felix J., et al. "The  smallest eating the largest: the oldest mammalian feeding traces on  dinosaur bone from the Late Jurassic of the Junggar Basin (northwestern  China)." The Science of Nature 107.4 (2020): 1-5.

Direct download: Podcast_196_-_High_Quality_Discount_Corpses.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use the trace fossil record to give us a more detailed understanding of the impacts of mass extinctions. Meanwhile, Curt has a new CSI, Amanda has too many synapsids, and James “understands comedy”.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about the marks that feet make on the ground and how these marks can tell us about things that died when really bad things happened. They look at two times in the past that a lot of stuff died all of a sudden. The first paper looks at when some big angry animals that are aunts and uncles to things with hair lived. This is from a place where there is a lot of dead things and also foot marks. The paper shows that the death of these big angry animals can be seen if you look for the dead parts or if you look at the feet marks.

The second paper looks at a time when a huge rock hit the ground and nearly killed everything. This paper looks at how foot marks and other marks in the ground changed before and after the rock hit at the place where the rock hit. What they find is that, the rock hitting caused there to not be a lot of marks because things were probably dead. But after a pretty short time, there were a lot or marks again and those marks were not just at the top but also showed that animals were moving up and down as well in the ground.

 

References:

Marchetti, Lorenzo, et al.  "Permian-Triassic vertebrate footprints from South Africa:  Ichnotaxonomy, producers and biostratigraphy through two major faunal  crises." Gondwana Research 72 (2019): 139-168.

Rodríguez-Tovar, Francisco J., et al.  "Rapid macrobenthic diversification and stabilization after the  end-Cretaceous mass extinction event." Geology (2020).

Direct download: Podcast_195_-_Big_Feetz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about the ecological data that we can learn from looking at trace fossils. The first paper looks at a unique ancient crocodilian behavior, and the second paper shows similar shore bird behaviors over the course of tens of millions of years. Meanwhile, James is full of bones, Amanda is honored, and Curt loves Hanna Barbera.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about foot marks. They talk about the foot marks of two-legged animals with no hair and no teeth that can usually fly, and also the foot marks of two-legged animals that are usually four-legged, with big teeth and long faces and hard skin. The foot marks of two-legged animals with no hair or teeth that can fly are fun because they look at ones that have been known about for a very long time, but no one has ever done anything with them. They are not so old, and they look at them and some ones that are very very old, and find that they have the same sort of groups of foot marks, even though one is very old and very far away from the other one, which is much less old. They also say that you can see the same sort of groups of foot marks today, too. The other foot marks are from animals that are usually four-legged, but this one is two-legged. That is not so weird, because they were two-legged a long, long time ago. But this one is two-legged after we thought they all were four-legged. That's weird because at the same time there were very large angry animals with big teeth and no hair, which people thought maybe made it so these other usually four-legged animals with big teeth and long faces and hard skin couldn't be two-legged anymore. Maybe that isn't really the case, because it doesn't look like these foot marks were made by something that is only going two-legged for a short time.   

 

References:

Lockley, Martin, et al. "Bird tracks from the Green River Formation (Eocene) of Utah: ichnotaxonomy, diversity, community structure and convergence." Historical Biology (2020): 1-18. 

 Kim, Kyung Soo, et al. "Trackway evidence for large bipedal crocodylomorphs from the Cretaceous of Korea." Scientific Reports 10.1 (2020): 1-13. 

Direct download: Podcast_194_-_Pedals_the_Crocodile.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that describe unique animal fossils which have been known but haven’t (until now) been formally described. The first is “Collins Monster”, a lobopod from the Cambrian, and the second is a fossil dolphin which is similar to an orca. Meanwhile, James rehabilitates some dolphins, Amanda saw a thing, and Curt witnesses true beauty.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Version):

 Today our friends talk about a strange animal with cute legs and big parts that go to a point, and a really big animal that used to have hair that looks like an animal with no legs but actually does have legs. Both of these things have been known about for a long time, but no one gave them a name. They were used to figure out the family tree of animals, but never had a name. These papers give them a name, which is a very important thing. The strange animal with cute legs and big parts that go to a point is very close to other strange animals with cute legs that we have talked about before. The paper does put them in a different box than we are used to seeing, which we talk about a little and find maybe a little strange. The big animal that used to have hair and looks like an animal that has no legs but it actually has legs looks like it is close to one animal that had hair and looks like it has no legs, which shows that these things show up many times as time goes on. They also show some family trees, but only one is in the paper, the rest are in the other stuff on the space where people store all their stuff today.   

 

References:

 Caron, Jean‐Bernard, and Cédric Aria. "The Collins’ monster, a spinous suspension‐feeding lobopodian from the Cambrian Burgess Shale of British Columbia." Palaeontology (2020). 

 Boessenecker, Robert W., et al. "Convergent Evolution of Swimming Adaptations in Modern Whales Revealed by a Large Macrophagous Dolphin from the Oligocene of South Carolina." Current Biology (2020). 

Direct download: Podcast_193_-_Making_Monsters.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Hey now, you’re an all-star, get the game on, go play. Hey now, you’re a rock star, get the show on, get paid! All that glitters is a long discussion about Mesozoic eggs. One of the papers we discuss suggests that the evolution of hard calcification in dinosaur eggs might have evolved independently multiple times. The second paper tries to determine the origins of a cryptic large soft-shelled egg. Meanwhile, James vents on his victims, Curt ruins the fun of Shrek, and Amanda has an egg guy.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at the things that small baby animals pop out of. Both papers are from a time when there were big angry animals that some people and all children really love. The first paper asks whether or not the things that these babies pop out of were soft or hard. While most of the things which babies pop out of from these angry animals are hard, hard things are also more able to become rocks than soft things. Also, each of the different types of angry animals seem to make their hard things in different ways. This paper looks at the things that babies pop out of from angry animals that are much earlier than the things we usually see. These angry animals all seem to be popping out of soft things, and since they are not close brothers and sisters, this means that angry animals each came up with different ways to make that things babies pop out of hard.

The second paper finds a very large soft thing that babies pop out of. Given how big this thing is, they have problems finding out what could have made this thing. They don't have a perfect answer, but they think that maybe it could be from an angry thing that lived in the water. The problem here is that the babies may have died if they were in the water while in the thing. However, it is possible to still have the thing that the babies pop out of be a real thing even if the babies then stay in the mom before they pop out.

 

References:

 Legendre, Lucas J., et al. "A giant soft-shelled egg from the Late Cretaceous of Antarctica." Nature (2020): 1-4. 

 Norell, Mark A., et al. "The first dinosaur egg was soft." Nature (2020): 1-5. 

Direct download: Podcast_192_-_Egg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at important points in the evolutionary history of land plants. The first paper is a review of the available data for the first time plants moved onto land in the Ordovician, and the second paper looks at the impact that the evolution of herbivory had on plant diversity. Meanwhile, James invents a new insect, Amanda reaches out and touches someone, and Curt is impressed by a brief moment of professionalism.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition)

Our friends talk about very old green things that grow in the ground and use the sun. The first paper looks at this very old time when green things move from water to the ground. This was a very very very long time ago, and most of what we have that lets us know about these green things are actually the small bits that the green things let go of. This paper looks at what we know about these first green things move onto land, and says that maybe as these green things go to the ground they may have changed the air. Also, the time that these things move onto land is the same time that things in the water become more different.

The second paper looks at when animals started to first eat these green things. The paper looks at changes in the animals that eat these green things, and tries to see if these animals can change how many green things there are. Big animals eat lots of different types of green things, while small animals often eat just a few types of green things. How big the animals appears to change the number of different green things. This means that animals that eat green things can have a strong control on the number of different types of green things.

 

References:

 Brocklehurst, Neil, Christian F. Kammerer, and Roger J. Benson. "The origin of tetrapod herbivory: effects on local plant diversity." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287.1928 (2020): 20200124. 

 Servais, Thomas, et al. "Revisiting the Great Ordovician Diversification of land plants: Recent data and perspectives." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (2019): 109280. 

Direct download: Podcast_191_-_Turning_Points_in_Plant_History.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about arthropod evolution and development. One paper focuses on the evolution of arthropod segmentation, and the other summarizes research on the development of the insect wing. Meanwhile, Amanda has a beer with no unintended consequences, Curt makes a shocking discovery about marketing, and James goes from 0 to professional in milliseconds.

As we did last time, here are some organizations you can donate to:

https://blacklivesmatter.com/

https://bailproject.org/

https://www.aclu.org/

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends look at small things with many legs and many body parts. The first paper is looking at how these small things with many legs and many body parts first grew the parts they needed to fly. The paper says lots of words about this, but there are two big ideas, saying that these body parts that the body parts these animals needed to fly grew from either the up on the side or down on the side. It turns out that maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. No, really, they probably grew from both up and down on the side, there was another paper that came out while this one was being worked on that says that, and they talk about it in this paper. The second paper looks at how these animals came to have many body parts, and says how it is important that we look at the things that are very very very dead, as well as the very very very very tiny bits of living things that carry the things our bodies need to know to make stuff. 

 

References:

Chipman, Ariel D., and Gregory D. Edgecombe. "Developing an integrated understanding of the evolution of arthropod segmentation using fossils and evo-devo." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286.1912 (2019): 20191881. 

 Clark-Hachtel, Courtney M., and Yoshinori Tomoyasu. "Exploring the origin of insect wings from an evo-devo perspective." Current opinion in insect science 13 (2016): 77-85. 

Direct download: Podcast_190_-_Arthropod_Evo_Devo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(Editor’s Note: This episode was recorded a month ago. Everyone at Palaeo After Dark stands with the protesters fighting for justice. Black Lives Matter!)

The gang discuss two papers about large mammal-like animals. The first is a Triassic synapsid the size of an elephant, and the second is a mammaliaform from the late Cretaceous of Madagascar. Meanwhile, James has a new technology to discuss, Amanda’s cats get involved in some unique business ventures, and Curt appreciates some choice scale-bar decisions.

https://blacklivesmatter.com/

https://action.aclu.org/give/now

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition)

Our friends talk about big boys. These big boys are great great great great great great brothers and sisters to things that have hair and are warm. The first of these big boys is the oldest and it lived a long time ago when big angry animals were just starting to show up. This big boy is a REALLY big boy. This big boy shows that not just the angry animals, but a lot of other animals, were getting big at this time. This means that maybe something was happening that made it so getting big was a thing lots of different animals could do.

Our second big boy was living just before a rock killed the big angry animals. The second big boy is not nearly as big as the first big boy, but we look at the others boys with hair it was pretty big. This big boy also has lots of weird things in its hard parts that we usually do not see in animals with hair at this time. This big boy lived in a place that was not a part of all the other land and was surrounded by water. This second big boy is another animal that got big when it came to this place. This place has been away from the land for a very very very long time, and so the animals at this place have been different for a long time.

 

References:

Sulej, Tomasz, and Grzegorz Niedźwiedzki. "An elephant-sized Late Triassic synapsid with erect limbs." Science 363.6422 (2019): 78-80. 

 Krause, David W., et al. "Skeleton of a Cretaceous mammal from Madagascar reflects long-term insularity." Nature (2020): 1-7. 

Direct download: Podcast_189_-_Big_Bois.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about archosaurs. The first paper looks at the trends in brain size relative to body size in birds over their entire evolutionary history. The second paper revisits the dinosaur Spinosaurus and adds more information to the debate over whether this animal had a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Meanwhile, James has some villagers he needs to “un-person”, Curt gives alternative definitions to slang, and Amanda just disappears (I’m sure she’ll be fine).

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about thinks they fly and something that moved through the water. The first paper looks at the brains of things that fly. As the body gets bigger, the brain usually gets bigger as well. But sometimes the way in which the brain gets bigger can change. Sometimes the brain gets bigger faster than the body and sometimes it gets bigger slower than the body. When looking at very old things that fly, what they find is that when the body gets smaller, the brain stays larger. This is something that big angry things which are brother and sister to the things that fly did as well. But later things that fly start changing how the brain gets bigger, with some things having their brains get way bigger faster than the body. This is often found in things that fly which are able to talk and use things which can make stuff work.

The second paper looks at an angry animal that some people think may move through the water and other people think those people are wrong. This paper finds more parts of the animal (the part at the end which can be moved up and down or side to side), which can help us better understand what this angry animal might have done. They find that the part at the end can shake to the side really well, which is something we see in animals that can move well through water. They use this to say that this adds more facts that say this thing may have moved through water.

 

References:

 Ibrahim, Nizar, et al. "Tail-propelled aquatic locomotion in a theropod dinosaur." Nature (2020): 1-4. 

 Ksepka, Daniel T., et al. "Tempo and Pattern of Avian Brain Size Evolution." Current Biology (2020). 

Direct download: Podcast_188_-_Bird_Brains_and_Propeller_Tails.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers about unique taphonomic conditions. One paper describes how these strange “train wrecks” of crinoid columnals might have formed, and the other paper models how bone jams in Dinosaur National Park could have formed. Meanwhile, James’s computer has a flux capacitor, Amanda mishears the best new BBC crime drama, and Curt enjoys the chance to talk about Nathan Fillion vehicles.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about animals with hard parts on their insides. Some of these animals have long arms with lots of parts and look like they sit on sticks. Others have many inside hard parts in place along their backs, and that is where they get their names. The animals with the long arms with lots of parts sometimes break into small pieces when they die. Usually they break into lots of little single round things, or they are very quickly covered up and are found all put together. But sometimes they break into big pieces that look like a train ran into another train. This paper talks about why they do that. They have long, strong bits of stuff like what is found on your knee. This stuff does not break down so easy and sometimes that is why you get these bigger pieces. The other paper looks at animals with hard parts inside their bodies put in a place along their backs, and what happens when these animals die and their hard parts come together in a moving water place. This paper does this by making tiny ones of the hard parts and putting them in a not-real moving water place. They find that these hard parts easily stick together and it explains why some of the these hard parts look the different ways they do once the animals are dead.  

 

References:

 Donovan, Stephen K. "Train crash crinoids revisited." Lethaia

 Carpenter, Kenneth. "Use of scaled dinosaur bones in taphonomic water flume experiments." Die Naturwissenschaften 107.3 (2020): 15-15. 

Direct download: Podcast_187_-_Taphonomy_Train_Wreck.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at modifications of the vertebrate hand. The first looks at how the lobe fin evolved into the vertebrate hand, and the second paper looks at the early limb transformations of early whales as hands became fins. Meanwhile, James’s computer is a time traveler, Amanda is upset that everyone is upset about Bunny Day, and Curt wonders about numbers higher than 10.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about how hands got started, and also how hands can become things that let animals move through the water. When this happens, we don't have a lot of remains because lots of the hard parts for these animals that are moving into or out of the water aren't there for us to look at. These two papers talk about new remains that have been found which give us more hard parts to look at so we can better understand how this happens. The first paper looks at new remains of old animals that let us know what the first animals which would have arms and legs and a back and lived on land looked like. This also lets us learn more about how hands first started. Big hard parts that used to be used to go through the water had some of those hard parts change to make fingers. While these first fingers started to form, the rest of the animal looked like it lived in the water.

The second paper looks at another type of animal that later on moved off the land and back into the water. When that happened, the hands become more like things that are used to move through the water. This animal is just starting to move into the water, but its great great great great children would be large animals with warm blood who move through the water. This animal that is just starting to move into the water shows changes in the hand that we usually see with things in water, but also has some hard parts that we see on land.

 

References:

Cloutier, Richard, et al. "Elpistostege and the origin of the vertebrate hand." Nature 579.7800 (2020): 549-554. 

 Vautrin, Quentin, et al. "From limb to fin: an Eocene protocetid forelimb from Senegal sheds new light on the early locomotor evolution of cetaceans." Palaeontology 63.1 (2020): 51-66. 

Direct download: Podcast_186_-_Fish_Fingers_and_Mammal_Fins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

That gang discusses two papers about fossil soft-bodied Cambrian organisms; one of which is a unique lobopod and the other is a fossil worm. Meanwhile, Amanda could go for some fish, Curt can’t stop the puns, James is going to be a cowboy.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

This week the group looks at two papers that are looking at two very old animals that have long bodies with no legs. One of these is a true animal with a long body and no legs, but the other is actually an animal that would usually have a short body and lots of legs but has grown a long body with very few legs and live in a long hard home that they make. This animal is actually part of the group that is the parents of animals with many legs and hard outer skin. This animal seems to have grabbed small bits of food with the legs that it has left and live inside the hard home it made, a very different way of living to the rest of its family. The other animal is a true animal with long body and no legs. It has been known for a long time but we did not know what the head looked like and now we do. As well as the head, the paper looks at the very small hard parts on its long body to show that it is not the animal that people thought it was, but a new animal! In total, things with long bodies and no legs are very good.  

 

References:

 Howard, Richard J., et al. "A Tube-Dwelling Early Cambrian Lobopodian." Current Biology (2020). 

 Whitaker, Anna F., et al. "Re-description of the Spence Shale palaeoscolecids in light of new morphological features with comments on palaeoscolecid taxonomy and taphonomy." PalZ (2020): 1-14. 

Direct download: Podcast_185_-_As_the_Worm_Turns.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang talks about two papers which look at the ecology of the Ediacaran. One paper uses trace fossils to infer how ecological systems change as we move from the Ediacaran to the Cambrian, and the second paper identifies some interesting features previously undocumented in Ediacaran fossils. Meanwhile, Curt has ideas about sponges, the internet destroys James’s comedic timing, and Amanda is happy to finally put those years of teaching physiology to good use.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about the time just before we have a lot of dead things that can appear in rocks. The first paper looks at the tracks left behind by animals and other things as they change through time. In the time before when we have a lot of dead things in rocks, there are still tracks. As we study these tracks, it turns out that there are lots of changes in these tracks that we didn't know about. It turns out that tracks show life was doing lots of things that we didn't see because the dead things themselves didn't get into rocks. This means the big changes we see as soon as dead things appear in the rocks might have been happening earlier.

The next paper looks at a group of weird things that were around a lot before we had a lot of dead things in the rocks. These weird things are like sticks with bits on either side. There used to be lots of these stick things, and it turns out that these stick things had small lines that goes to each of these sticks. These lines are very small, which is why it was so hard to find them. The paper thinks that these lines might mean that all of these sticks are a repeat of the same stick over and over again. This is something that some things that make their own food from the sun do today, meaning that making more of themselves by repeating over and over again might be something that first happened a long time ago.

 

References:

 Liu, Alexander G., and Frances S. Dunn. "Filamentous Connections between Ediacaran Fronds." Current Biology (2020). 

Laing, Brittany A., et al. "A protracted Ediacaran–Cambrian transition: an ichnologic ecospace analysis of the Fortunian in Newfoundland, Canada." Geological Magazine 156.9 (2019): 1623-1630.

Direct download: Podcast_184_-_Lockdown_Baby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the human impact on the fossil record. The first paper runs multiple model studies to try and determine when hominines (the group that includes all of our ancestors) first began significantly impacting the biosphere. The second paper estimates what our future fossil record may look like by using the state of Michigan as a model system (much to Amanda’s delight). Meanwhile, Amanda attempts to train a cat, Curt and James invent the best machine, James has his mind blown, and everyone wonders what the “prepper layer” of the Anthropocene will look like in a few million years.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about how people have changed the world. First, they talk about how big brains might have led to lost of animals dying. This first paper looks at how brains got larger in the great great great great parents of people over time. They run a lot of numbers in a computer in order to find out if the real big animals that died went away because of people or because of changes in the places where these animals live. They look at how big the brains of these people were, as well as how much rain fell and if there were trees. What they find is that, after running all the numbers, is that the best answer out of all the things they looked at was that these animals started to die when the brains of people got bigger. They think this could mean that the people with bigger brains started to take food from some of these big animals, and that made it harder for these big animals to stay living.

The second paper looks at what we will leave behind after people are gone in the rocks. It uses a state that looks like a hand (and which one of our friends really really likes) as a way to look into this. Turns out, people cover things in ground a lot more than would usually happen without people. But people only cover in ground a small number of animals, like people, dogs, cats, and animals that we use on places where we make food. This means that the rocks after we are gone will look very different from the rocks before us. These rocks will be filled with just a few things, and most of those things will probably be in the same position. Also, a lot of the animals will all be men and all will have died for the same reasons.

 

References:

Faurby, Søren, et al. "Brain expansion in early hominins predicts carnivore extinctions in East Africa." Ecology Letters.

Plotnick, Roy E., and Karen A. Koy. "The Anthropocene Fossil Record of Terrestrial Mammals." Anthropocene (2019): 100233.

Direct download: Podcast_183_-_Nobody_Wins_The_Human_Impact_on_Our_Future_Fossil_Record.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates their 7th anniversary by inflicting pain on themselves for your amusement by discussing a classic paper, Gould's "Paradox of the First Tier". They discuss the paper in its historical context, and also how our knowledge of mass extinctions has changed and evolved from this paper. Meanwhile, James comes up with unconventional ways to communicate, Amanda may need some more whiskey to get through this, and Curt is all smiles.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends have fun on the day that comes around every year which is when they first started doing this thing. They talk about a paper that is old but looking to the time ahead. This paper is interested in how things die, especially when a lot of things die. There are bad times in the past when lots of things have died all at once. This paper points out that these bad times might be really important. These bad times when lots of things die all at once might act to change the direction of how life is changing through time. Life might be changing in one way and doing just fine, but when one of these bad times happens the things that were doing well might do bad but the things that were doing bad might do really well. Our friends talk about how the ideas brought up in this old paper have changed over time.

 

References:

Gould, Stephen Jay. "The paradox of the first tier: an agenda for paleobiology." Paleobiology 11.1 (1985): 2-12.

Direct download: Podcast_182_-_The_Pain_Happy_Birthday.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

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.   

 

References:

 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.

 

References:

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

The gang discusses two papers on insect behavior, one fossil study and one modern study. The fossil study illustrates a cool example of how amber can help us to understand the evolution of pollination throughout Earth history. The modern paper investigates how bury beetles care for and communicate with their young. Meanwhile, James’s computer lives in the past, Amanda has to deal with cat-nap related choices, Curt has his honor besmirched, and everyone is a little overwhelmed by how little people care about invertebrates.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about small things with six legs. Some of these small things with six legs go to green things with pretty colored bits and take their tiny baby parts, and take them to other green things with pretty colored bits. It might be that a long time ago, when green things with pretty colored bits were new, that small things with six legs and sort of hard parts over their flying parts were the ones that took the tiny baby parts of green things with pretty colored bits to other green things with pretty colored bits. The paper shows a small thing with six legs and sort of hard parts over their flying parts carrying tiny baby parts of green things on its body. That means that these small things with six legs and sort of hard parts over their flying parts helped these green things with pretty colored bits make more green things with pretty colored bits, but also that they ate the tiny baby parts. The other paper has different small things with six legs, and their babies. Their babies will ask the old small things with six legs for food. If they do not, they die. But if they ask too much, they also die, This paper takes away the old small things with six legs and shows babies will do nothing but ask for food and die.  

 

References:

Bao, Tong, et al. "Pollination of Cretaceous flowers." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116.49 (2019): 24707-24711. 

 Takata, Mamoru, et al. "A Parental Volatile Pheromone Triggers Offspring Begging in a Burying Beetle." iScience 19 (2019): 1260-1278. 

Direct download: Podcast_179_-_Pollinators_and_Begging_Grubs_Studies_of_Insect_Behavior.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates the end of the year by taking another break to play Fiasco, a crime/noir storytelling game by Bully Pit Games. Here is the conclusion of our two part episode.

 

Business in the Blue Label Diner was picking up, and Bill Larsen was all action; balancing plates, refilling coffee, and distributing orders with a speed that belied his aging body. All the while, he never ceased telling his narrative of the town’s recent history to the woman from out of town who was still sitting in that same seat at the counter. It was as though the act of relaying this history was somehow feeding him an otherworldly energy.

“So I know that a lot people from outside uh’ our town might not really get it… But ya see Mr. Cromwell brought somethin’ important to this town. The Hub brought more than just jobs, it brought a purpose. It made this town important, put us on the map. And sure, we don’t really go outside at night all that much anymore…” he looked out his window at the thick smoke which now pushed heavily against his diner like a layer of dense billowy cotton, “but my business has been doin’ better than its ever done, and I don’t think you’ll find another person in town who’ll tell ya any differently. Things…. things are good now in Paradise Falls.”

Bill picked up the carafe of coffee and made his way back to the woman sitting at the counter . As he poured her another cup, he glanced down at her notebook. It still sat on the counter, untouched; its blank white pages glaring back at him. For the better part of an hour she had sat silently, not writing down a thing; her face gradually contorting into a scowl of thinly repressed rage. That energetic confidence that had fueled him left him in an instance. His back once again twinged in pain. “Now I’m sorry but that’s all I know about what Mr. Cromwell has been doin’ around these parts. I think Sophie Bryant might have heard something about….”

“I don’t care what Cornelius Cromwell did or did not do Mr. Larsen.” The woman tilted her head to look directly into his eyes with a piercing glaze, “What I want to know are the whereabouts of Miss Tully and her relationship to Agent Cooper.”

Bill looked perplexed, “Agent who now?”

The woman stood up from her stool at the counter and stared him down. Bill crumpled, some of the coffee spilling out of the carafe which he still held clenched in his right hand. “Mr. Larsen, where is Miss Tully?”

The diner went silent, all eyes turned to look at Bill and this strange woman from out of town. As Bill shrank away he sheepishly asked “Now… now which… which paper are ya workin’ for?”

“I’m not.” The woman threw down a badge with the words ‘Bounty Hunter’ in large thick typeface onto the counter. “Now, what do you know about the whereabouts of Miss Theresa Tully?”

"Paradise Falling" is a surreal tale of paranoia, failure, and cold hard capitalism.

 

"Andreas Theme" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_178b_-_Paradise_Falling_Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates the end of the year by taking another break to play Fiasco, a crime/noir storytelling game by Bully Pit Games. This campaign will be broken into two parts.

 

The afternoon sun cast long, hazy blades of light across the linoleum floor of the Blue Label Diner in downtown Paradise Falls. Bill Larsen took a moment to stretch his aching back before hunching again to buff the counter with his cleaning rag. With weary eyes, he turned his attention back to the out-of-towner who was furtively sipping her coffee. She pulled out a notebook and pen from her jacket pocket and set them expectantly on the counter, waiting for Bill to speak.

“Do ya want some apple pie? Best in town.” No other restaurant in Paradise Falls sold apple pie, and Bill knew that.

The woman shook her head, “Mr Larsen, I’m just here to learn the facts about what happened in your town. So please…. from the beginning…”

“How did it all happen? Well that’s a long story.” He paused and gave a winking smirk “Ya sure ya don’t need somethin’ more to eat?”

The woman tapped on her notebook.

“Let’s see, well to understand any of it ya have to go back to the beginning. Ya see, first came the storm. Terrible winds ripped through our poor town like the gates of hell just opened up. Thank God most of the town was spared. Well…. except for the Tully farm. Such a waste really. Beautiful property that farm, and been with the family for generations. Pity Miss Tully had to sell. But in the long run, sad as it is to say, and I do feel just awful sayin’ it, but in the long run I think ya gonna see that sellin’ that farm was the best thing that ever happened to this town.”

The door to the Blue Label Diner swung open as another patron entered. With him came billowing black smoke from the outside, some of the thick soot that was beginning to blanket the entire downtown; a new daily ritual for Paradise Falls. The sunlight through the windows began to wane as the world outside became consumed in an ever thickening dark cloud of chemicals. But inside the diner there was coffee and pie.

"Paradise Falling" is a surreal tale of paranoia, failure, and cold hard capitalism.

 

"Andreas Theme" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_178a_-_Paradise_Falling_Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at how the morphology of tetrapods (animals with four limbs and a backbone) has changed over time. One paper looks at how dinosaur jaws are related to diet preferences, and the other paper looks at how spines have changed as tetrapods diversified through time. Meanwhile, James talks Star Trek, Curt gives some consumer advice, and Amanda would rather not talk about cowboys.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

This week the group look at two papers that are looking at different ways that animals get more different. The first paper is looking at the mouths of big angry animals with no hair. The big angry animals with no hair that eat other animals and get big have the least different mouths from each other, but those that are small and eat other animals have very different mouths from one another, and those that eat living things that make their own food or both other animals and living things that make their own food have the most different mouths from one another. We see the same thing no matter how we decide how different mouths are.

The other paper is looking at the line of hard bits in the back of animals that do have hair to see if they get more different over time and do different things along the same line of hard bits. We find out that the line of hard bits do get more different over time, and that the reason they get more different may be because the animals with hair start to breathe more air.

 

References:

 Jones, Katrina E., Kenneth D. Angielczyk, and Stephanie E. Pierce. "Stepwise shifts underlie evolutionary trends in morphological complexity of the mammalian vertebral column." Nature communications 10 (2019). 

 Schaeffer, Joep, et al. "Morphological disparity in theropod jaws: comparing discrete characters and geometric morphometrics." Palaeontology (2019). 

Direct download: Podcast_177_-_Grow_a_Spine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at changes in teeth through time. The first paper looks at the earliest example of heterodont teeth in tetrapods, and the second paper looks at how different mammal groups build sabre tooth morphologies. Meanwhile, James has unique ideas for building worker morale, Amanda accidentally makes a pie faux pas, and Curt is friend to gelfling.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about teeth. Wow, teeth is one of the ten hundred most used words. Cool. So some things have teeth that are all the same kind. Most of the very early things with four feet that go on long have teeth of all the same kind. But there is an early thing with four feet that goes on land that we have known about for a long time that was never really looked at too close and now we see that it has teeth that are big and round and teeth that are small and pointed. It was probably eating things that were very hard and needed to be broken up before it could eat them. What is cool is that there are lots of animals from the same place at the same time that also show this kind of eating thing, where they must have been eating things that were very hard like rock and had to be broken up before they could be eaten. Our friends also talk about animals with hair that had very very long pointed teeth in the front of the mouth. It turns out that these teeth grow in a very different way. Animals with hair only grow teeth two times, and the back teeth only grow in one time. Usually the back teeth grow in last. But these animals had their very very long pointed front teeth grow in last. And they grow in funny. They grow in along the inside of the old teeth, until they are as much as the old teeth, then the old teeth fall out. This might mean that these teeth show up in different animals with hair totally on their own over and over and over again many times, which is cool.


References:

Clack, Jennifer A., et al. "Acherontiscus caledoniae: the earliest heterodont and durophagous tetrapod." Royal Society open science 6.5 (2019): 182087. 

 Wysocki, Matthew Aleksander. "Fossil evidence of evolutionary convergence in juvenile dental morphology and upper canine replacement in sabertooth carnivores." Ecology and Evolution (2019). 

Direct download: Podcast_176_-_Much_Ado_About_Teeth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use large data sets to look at big picture patterns in evolution and ecology. Specifically, they look at one paper that explores brachiopod shell thickness in relationship to environmental preferences during the Late Ordovician mass extinction, and another paper that looks at the evolution of using the tail as a weapon in vertebrates. Meanwhile, James is eternally “young”, Curt invents unique ecological roles for Stegosaurus, and Amanda enables the worst type of ASMR (for those who cannot handle food sounds in microphones, skip 47:57-48:54).

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that bring together a lot of facts about things to say something about how living things have changed over time. The first one looks at hard rock like things that take food out of the water. This paper looks at how thick the hard parts of these things were and it focuses on a time when these things went through a real bad time and a lot of them died. While the paper finds a lot of interesting things, one of the big things they find is that some of the animals that pull food out of the water all made really thicker hard parts than the other types of animals that pull food out of the water. These animals that made really thick hard parts were also the ones that were hurt when a real bad time happened.

The second paper looks at animals that have a long part coming off their bottom. This paper looks at animals which use the long part on their bottom to hit things. There are lots of different ways animals with long parts coming off their bottom can use that long part to hit things, and this paper looks to see what parts need to be in place in order to have these animals be able to hit things. It turns out that there have been many times that life has found a way to hit things with a long part coming out of the bottom.

 

References:

 Arbour, Victoria M., and Lindsay E. Zanno. "The evolution of tail weaponization in amniotes." Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 285.1871 (2018): 20172299. 

 Balthasar, Uwe, et al. "Brachiopod shell thickness links environment and evolution." Palaeontology (2019). 

Direct download: Podcast_175_-_Big_Data_Studies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang talks about two papers that look at potential examples of parasitism in the fossil record. One paper finds possible parasites attaching to ancient ostracods, and another paper details potential parasitic isopods on electric ray fossils. Meanwhile, James practices his spidey sense, Curt is suspicious that things are going too well, and Amanda’s internet has amazing timing.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda and James Edition):

 Today our friends talk about animals that eat other animals without killing them. First our friends talk about a paper that talks about an animal that has big teeth but no hard inside parts even though it is in a group that has hard inside parts and lives in the water. This animal has a number of smaller animals that have sort of hard outer parts, that may have been living on its skin by sticking its head inside its skin and living there. It is very hard to tell if this thing had its head in the animal with big teeth and no inside hard parts when it lived, or if it was just maybe eating the animal after it was dead. It is very hard to tell if things ate other things while they were still living or if they were there after it died.

Our friends also talk little animals that have five arms that today live in animals without legs that breath water. The animals with five arms first became animals with five arms that ate other animals without killing before the animals without legs that breath water came to be, so we did not know what the animals with five arms used to eat. Now we know that they would eat animals with lots of legs and a hard head, and that they would eat the animals with lots of legs and a hard head from lots of places, not just inside like they eat the animals with no legs that breath water.

 

References:

 Siveter, David J., et al. "A 425-million-year-old Silurian pentastomid parasitic on ostracods." Current Biology 25.12 (2015): 1632-1637. 

 Robin, Ninon, et al. "Eocene isopods on electric rays: tracking ancient biological interactions from a complex fossil record." Palaeontology 62.2 (2019): 287-303. 

Direct download: Podcast_174_-_Feeling_Drained_Parasites_in_the_Fossil_Record.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look into early plant evolution and ecology. The first paper looks at some evidence from fossil spores to determine where the earliest vascular plants on land may have evolved. The second paper looks at a unique Devonian forest ecology from China. Meanwhile, James accidentally hoists himself, Amanda is more heard than she thinks, Curt fails as acting like everything’s ok, and everyone has a good old time working around Amanda’s computer deciding to die.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about old things that can make their own food from the sun. First, they talk about some of the oldest things that make their food from the sun which also have ways of moving water from the bottom of the thing to the top. Before this paper, it was thought that things which make their food and live on the land probably first started in the big piece of land that used to be made up of most of the other land pieces put together. With this paper, they found parts of these things which are used for making babies in the rocks of a different piece of land. This makes the people who wrote the paper think that, maybe, a lot of the changes in these early things on the land that make food may have actually happened in this other place.

The second paper looks at some very early trees. These trees are not the same as trees today, because they are not quite doing the same thing as trees today. But these early trees still act a bit like trees today. This paper finds a very interesting type of group of trees which seems to be in a place close to the big blue wet thing. This group of trees has the trees way more close together than we have seen before. It is a lot earlier than when we usually see trees that are grouped very close together. This means that trees got very close together with a lot of trees in one area very early on. This means that the big groups of trees we see a bit later on had their start earlier than we had first thought. This group of trees is also very cool is that the way the trees are grouped together is very different from what we see today, and even in the past. The trees are all the same type of tree and there are big, not so big but not so small, and small trees all grouped together. This means that lots of trees grouped together could really pull down some clear things in the air that control how hot the air is.

 

References:

 Wang, Deming, et al. "The Most Extensive Devonian Fossil Forest with Small Lycopsid Trees Bearing the Earliest Stigmarian Roots." Current Biology 29.16 (2019): 2604-2615. 

 Rubinstein, Claudia V., and Vivi Vajda. "Baltica cradle of early land plants? Oldest record of trilete spores and diverse cryptospore assemblages; evidence from Ordovician successions of Sweden." GFF (2019): 1-10. 

 

Direct download: Podcast_173_-_Early_Plants.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

James, Brendan, Aly, Carlie, Anna, and Curt gather together at the 2019 Geological Society of America Meeting in Phoenix and discuss the various paleontology talks they saw at the event.

Day 1 (Anna, James, Curt, Brendan): 0:00 - 1:05

Day 2 (James, Aly, Carlie, Brendan, Curt): 1:05 - 2:37

Day 3 (James, Anna, Curt): 2:37 - 3:54

Day 4 (James, Carlie, Brendan): 3:54 - 5:17

Direct download: Podcast_172_-_GSA_2019.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:53pm EDT

The gang discusses some very interesting papers about bird fossils in New Zealand. These papers describe how many different types of birds ended up on New Zealand throughout the Cenozoic, and each time they experienced significant increases in their size. Sadly, since this was a very straightforward topic, no one could quite manage to focus on anything. So meanwhile, Curt remembers childhood animations that no one cares about, James makes it “fun” for himself and no one else, Amanda drinks the unholy combination of bourbon and rye (brye?), and everything just kind of gets way too 2019 near the end (EDITOR’S NOTE: Apologies for the inconsistent audio on this episode. The wrong inputs were used for some of the audio due to some last minute changes, but this should not happen in the future).

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about things with no teeth that can fly that can't actually fly and live on land that has water all around it. One of these things with no teeth that can fly but can't actually fly does sort of fly, but under the water instead of in the air. The other is a very large thing with no teeth that can fly but can't fly that people will have as an animal in their house a lot of the time. These things with no teeth that can fly that people keep in their house yell a lot and can also learn to talk. The one our friends talk about is just a leg, but it was very large and probably as big as a small child. The whole animal was that big, not the leg. The other thing with no teeth that can fly but can't fly but does sort of fly under the water is very big and very old and maybe is one of the oldest ones of these things with no teeth that can't fly anymore. It seems like maybe this land with water all around it was a good place for these early things with no teeth that can fly but now can't fly but sort of fly under water, because there are many of them there at this time. And they are very old, some of the oldest ones, and very big, so maybe being big is an old thing that this group of animals does.

 

References:

 Worthy, Trevor H., et al. "Evidence for a giant parrot from the Early Miocene of New Zealand." Biology letters 15.8 (2019): 20190467. 

 Mayr, Gerald, et al. "Leg bones of a new penguin species from the Waipara Greensand add to the diversity of very large-sized Sphenisciformes in the Paleocene of New Zealand." Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology (2019): 1-18. 

Direct download: Podcast_171_-_Birds_Get_Swole_in_New_Zealand.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two very different papers that are sort of united together based upon the importance of taphonomy. First, they look at a paper about how the ways in which conodont elements are preserved can affect our understanding of their evolution. Second, they talk about the recent finding of exceptionally preserved therizinosaur dinosaur nesting sites. Meanwhile, Amanda finds herself dealing with a failing webcam, Curt enjoys burying the lede, and James is never wrong unless he wants to be.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about how the ways that things wear down can really change how we understand our past. First, they look at these things that are like teeth but are not and are part of this very old group of animals that are aunt or uncle to a lot of animals that have hard parts in their backs which live today. Some of these old animals that have not teeth have changes through time in their not teeth. The bottom of these not teeth appears to disappear in the animals we find which are closer to today. However, this paper finds new animals that show maybe the bottom of these teeth have not actually disappeared, but instead it turns out that this bottom part is very easy to break off. This is important because it means that the not teeth may still have some deep relationship to how actual teeth teeth form.

Next, our friends look at the places where big angry animals would lay bag like things that hold babies, here after we will call them sit places. A big question has been if these big angry animals liked to find sit places close to each other or far away. It is hard to tell this in the past because we can't always be sure all of the sit places were used at the same time. This paper find a single red line that runs across all of the sit places, which allows the people who wrote the paper to say that all of the sit places were probably used at the same time. Also, the number of babies that didn't die is a lot like the number of babies that don't die in animals who also find sit places together today. So it looks like these big angry animals probably shared sit places.

 

References:

Tanaka, Kohei, et al. "Exceptional preservation of a Late Cretaceous dinosaur nesting site from Mongolia reveals colonial nesting behavior in a non-avian theropod." Geology(2019). 

 Souquet, Louise, and Nicolas Goudemand. "Exceptional basal-body preservation in some Early Triassic conodont elements from Oman." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (2019). 


The gang takes some time to discuss two papers about agnostids, a strange group of trilobite-like arthropods whose evolutionary history has been the subject of considerable debate. First, we discuss a short paper summarizing the history of the agnostid debate, and then we discuss a brand new paper using new material and Bayesian phylogenetics to offer a fresh new hypothesis. Also, James channels frustration into fun, Amanda nearly has her house destroyed by cats, and Curt asks the Star Wars questions no one wanted answered.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about small animals that have no eyes that might be sisters of animals that live in the water that have three parts and big eyes, many legs, and can make themselves into a ball. The first paper talks about the small animals with no eyes and how hard it is to make one of these animals for people to look at. They talk about the past of the animal and where it lived, and who it might be close sisters to. They say that a very cool area where we find these animals lets us see the legs and that they are different, also that they have a different mouth, and that maybe they actually do have eyes but they are on the mouth? They are weird animals. The second paper also talks about these animals, but does not focus on making the animals for people to look at. It looks at these animals from a different very cool area and shows their legs are sort of like the legs of animals that live in the water that have three parts and big eyes, many legs, and can make themselves into a ball. The paper is different from others, though, because it says that these animals are really either part of or sister to animals that live in the water that have three parts and big eyes, many legs, and can make themselves into a ball. But that is the only part of the tree that really is strong, so maybe who knows still? Our cat friend is writing this and did not really know what was going on that day, and does not know much about these cool animals with maybe no eyes that might really be animals that live in the water that have three parts and big eyes, many legs, and can make themselves into a ball.

 

References:

Eriksson, Mats E., and Esben Horn. "Agnostus pisiformis—a half a billion-year old pea-shaped enigma." Earth-Science Reviews 173 (2017): 65-76. 

 Moysiuk, J., and J-B. Caron. "Burgess Shale fossils shed light on the agnostid problem." Proceedings of the Royal Society B286.1894 (2019): 20182314.

Direct download: Podcast_169_-_Learning_about_Agnostids.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the diets of past and present crocodylomorphs using patterns in teeth shape and enamel. It turns out, past relatives of crocodiles were likely a lot more experimental in the types of feeding strategies they implemented than we might expect. Meanwhile, Curt comes up with a great name for a Lamsdell lab bowling league, Amanda loves possums, and James has some very strong opinions about the “Cats” trailer.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends talk about two papers that look at the teeth of these big angry animals that hide and eat a lot of animals. It turns out that lots of these big angry animals are sons and daughters of older big angry animals which may have ate other things besides animals. These two papers look at the teeth of the living big angry animals and the older big angry animals to see what we can learn about what they may have ate. The first paper looks at the hardest bits that cover the teeth. In living big angry animals, they find that the teeth furthest back in the mouth have more hard parts covering them than the teeth near the front. This makes sense, because these teeth in the back hold on to animals and so need to be more covered. What they also find is that these big angry animals have way less hard parts covering their teeth than other other animals which are warm, but who do not grow new teeth every time they lose one. The hard parts are the same as some other big angry animals from the past, though some of the big angry animals that might have ate more than just animals have the parts where their teeth are hard being different.

The second paper looks at the ways the teeth look. There is a number that can be looked at which shows if the teeth are simple or if they are very different. Simple teeth usually means that the animal eats other animals. But the more different the teeth are, the more the animal may eat both animals and not animals, or just not eat animals at all. They use this number to study what past big angry animals would eat. What they find is that past big angry animals probably ate way more different things than we see today. While most big angry animals today eat only animals, it seems that not eating animals at all, or eating both animals and not animals, happened way more often in these past big angry animals. It means that maybe these big angry animals have been a lot more different in the past, and our living big angry animals are maybe more "weird" than we think.

 

References:

 Sellers, K. C., A. B. Schmiegelow, and C. M. Holliday. "The significance of enamel thickness in the teeth of Alligator mississippiensis and its diversity among crocodyliforms." Journal of Zoology

 Melstrom, Keegan M., and Randall B. Irmis. "Repeated Evolution of Herbivorous Crocodyliforms during the Age of Dinosaurs." Current Biology (2019). 

Direct download: Podcast_168_-_Alligator_Teeth_and_Too_Small_Cats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

[TRIGGER WARNER: Some dead baby jokes because we were in a very weird mental place, and also way too much rambling conversations about Star Wars]

The gang celebrates their cross continental trip to the 2019 North American Paleontology Convention by immediately getting on microphone the next day to talk about fossil Pterosaur eggs and what they can tell us about Pterosaur reproductive strategies. As expected, this may not have gone well. Witness the horror as barely conscious minds try and keep on topic for more than about 5 minutes! Apologies to the authors of these quite nice papers. [Editor’s note: The scientific discussion on this podcast “starts” around the 10 minute mark]

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about animals with skin arms. We are really talking about the baby animals with skin arms when they live in a small house with a hard outer part. One paper talks about the house of a baby animal with skin arms that is very round and good. You can see all the small bits of this house with a hard outer part. In fact, this house with a hard outer part is very much the same as some of the flying animals with no hair today. That might mean that these animals with skin arms were living like the flying animals with no hair that are around today. We already think they ate the same way, so now we think they might have lived and made their baby small houses in the same way too. The second paper is looking at baby animals with skin arms while they are still living in their house. Different parts of the inside hard pieces of these baby animals with skin arms get hard at different times as they get bigger, but they are still in their small house with a hard outer part, except that not all of the houses really have a hard outer part but that is a story for another time. Anyway some of the babies are still soft but some are very hard and that makes people think that maybe when these baby animals with skin arms come out of their small houses with either hard or soft outer parts they are able to leave the big home right away and go fly away. This is different than almost all living animals that fly and do not have hair except for one group which is big and strange and look kind of like the large big animals that fly (but these ones do not fly) that do not have hair and are good to eat and very stupid, but they do not are not part of that group. So these baby animals with skin arms are very different (maybe) than what is still living today.

 

References:

Unwin, David Michael, and D. Charles Deeming. "Prenatal development in pterosaurs and its implications for their postnatal locomotory ability." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286.1904 (2019): 20190409. 

 Grellet-Tinner, Gerald, et al. "The first pterosaur 3-D egg: Implications for Pterodaustro guinazui nesting strategies, an Albian filter feeder pterosaur from central Argentina." Geoscience Frontiers5.6 (2014): 759-765. 

Direct download: Podcast_167_-_Jet_Lagged_Pterosaur_Eggs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

We all just got back from the 2019 North American Paleontological Conference at UC Riverside with an extra long (over 5 hours) episode. Join James, Carlie, Curt, and Brendan as they discuss the talks they saw each day of the conference. Time stamps for each day: Day 2 talks ~ 54 min.; Day 4 talks ~2 hr, 36 min; Day 5 talks ~3 hr, 49 min.

Direct download: Podcast_166_-_NAPC_2019.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

The gang have a “Shark Week” and discuss two papers about the ecology of modern tiger sharks. The first paper talks about a unique feeding strategy for some tiger sharks in which they can consume a fairly large amount of song birds. The second paper discusses how tiger shark populations are distributed around the islands of Hawaii, a place known for fairly high concentrations of tiger sharks. Meanwhile, James informs us of an important holiday, Curt imagines the ultimate battle of goose and shark, and Amanda decides to take charge of the podcast.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at how these big animals with teeth that move through the water live. The first paper looks at what these big animals in the water are eating. People have been catching these big animals in the water and seeing what is inside of them. During some times in the year, usually the fall, these big animals in the water somehow eat a whole hell of a lot of these very small animals that talk a lot and move through the air. Turns out that most of the big animals in the water eating these small animals from the air that talk a lot are young but not babies. This shows a very interesting case where food comes from the land into the water. Often, food moves from the water into the land but this is the other way around.

The other paper looks at where these big animals live, focusing on a place where a lot of these big animals have had attacks with people. This paper showed that this one place seems to get a lot of these big animals because they like to make babies there. There is a lot of stuff this paper goes through, but the big important point is that this is a place where people play and move in water, and it is also important for these big animals, so this means that people and these big animals are going to come together at some point and the people should be told about this. Another cool thing is that the number of big animals in the area and the number of attacks are not the same, meaning that more of these big animals does not mean more attacks. It shows that making sure people know about these big animals is probably more important, and that scared attempts to kill these big animals do not make the problem better, and ends up very bad for the world.

 

References:

Meyer, Carl G., et al. "Habitat geography around Hawaii’s oceanic islands influences tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) spatial behaviour and shark bite risk at ocean recreation sites." Scientific reports 8.1 (2018): 4945. 

 Drymon, J. M., et al. "Tiger sharks eat songbirds: scavenging a windfall of nutrients from the sky." Ecology

Direct download: Podcast_165_-_Sharks_for_St_Crispins_Day.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang talks about two papers that are interested in iterative evolution, the repeated evolution of the same or similar morphological characteristics within or among species. Specifically, they are focused on iterative evolution in species on islands. The first paper they discuss looks at how being flightless might have evolved multiple times on the same island within the same species of rails. The second paper looks at repeated changes in developmental timing associated with climatic changes on an island. Also, James is an expert, Curt comes up with the best new Blue Sky series for the USA network “Rails and Snails”, and Amanda changes the podcast’s format.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talks about two times that weird things happen when animals get on an piece of land that is surrounded on all sides by water. The first paper looks at small light flying things. When these flying things get onto a piece of land surrounded by water, they seem to stop flying. However, they find these remains of these light flying things on this one piece of land so they can see how the way these remains look change, because the way these remains look will tell us if these light flying things had decided to stop flying. The cool thing is that many different flying groups of this same flying thing landed on this pieces of land surrounded by water and all decided to stop flying on their own. So the story for these light flying things is that they land on this piece of land surrounded by water, they stop flying, and then they die from breathing water when the land goes under, and then when the land is above the water, they repeat.

The second paper looks at how these things that sit there, have a rock around them, and pull food out of water change over time. What the paper finds is that these little things with a rock around them look very different when the water goes up and down. The paper says that this is because of changes in how these little animals with a rock around them grow up. Do they take longer to grow up, do they look more like grown ups or do they look more like babies? The changes they see in how these things grow up happen at the same time as changes in where the water is, as well as how hot or cold it is.

 

References:

Hume, Julian P., and David Martill. "Repeated evolution of flightlessness in Dryolimnas rails (Aves: Rallidae) after extinction and recolonization on Aldabra." Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (2019). 

 Hearty, Paul J., and Storrs L. Olson. "Environmental Stress and Iterative Paedomorphism in Shells of Poecilozonites (Gastropoda: Gastrodontidae) from Bermuda." Palaios 34.1 (2019): 32-42. 

Direct download: Podcast_164_-_Rails_and_Snails.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the extinction and survivorship patterns of clades across the Triassic mass extinction event. Specifically, they look at changes in morphospace in ray-finned fishes as well as phylogenetic patterns of extinction in early archosaurs. Interestingly enough, both studies suggest very low ecological selection (at least in the characteristics we can study in the fossil record), but the archosaur study shows clear phylogenetic clustering of extinction. Meanwhile, James works on his social media engagement, Amanda perfects the concept of a joke, and Curt discovers this podcast’s theme far too late.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends talk about two papers which look at a time that was really bad when nearly anything died. But this time is slightly different from the other, more well known ones. Its not the biggest, and its not the one everyone thinks of. Instead, this bad time when everything dies happens just a little after the worst of the bad times where everything dies, and may have been important for the angry animals with no hair and large teeth.

The friends talk about how two different types of animals that were changed by this really bad time. The first are things living in the water who can move through the water and have a flipper where their legs and arms should be. This first paper looks at how the form of these flipper animals changed before and after the bad time. What they found was that the form of these flipper animals didn't get changed by the both the really bad time, and the bad time very few people think about. They think this might mean that the bad time focused on hurting flipper animals that liked it to be warm or cold wet or dry. It also could be that these animals had a single job in their home. This is because form often changes when animals take on new jobs or move to a new home with different things the animals have to deal with. This might mean that these flipper animals just were not changed in any way but these big bad times of death.

But the other paper looks at animals on land who are aunt and uncle to the big angry animals with no hair and large teeth. This paper did not look at the form of these aunts and uncles, but it did look at the sons and daughters and brothers and sisters that these animals had. It also looked at how these aunts and uncles of big angry animals lived; what was their job and how did they like it (warm, cold, wet, dry)? What the paper found was the bad time of death did not kill these aunts and uncles of big angry animals because of their jobs or how they liked to live. So this seems pretty much the same as the paper about the flipper animals. However, the paper also found that if a close brother or sister died during the bad time, their closest brothers and sisters were also going to die. This makes things hard to understand, because close brothers and sisters usually live in places that are almost or very much the same and/or have jobs that are almost or very much the same. The bad time seems to be killing close families, but not because of how they like to live or their job. This could mean that we are missing important things about how this animals liked to live which we just aren't looking for, or maybe we can't look for. It also makes us wonder if more animals might show something very much the same to these flipper animals and these aunts and uncles of big angry animals.

 

References:

Smithwick, Fiann M., and Thomas L. Stubbs. "Phanerozoic survivors: Actinopterygian evolution through the Permo‐Triassic and Triassic‐Jurassic mass extinction events." Evolution 72.2 (2018): 348-362. 

 Allen, Bethany J., et al. "Archosauromorph extinction selectivity during the Triassic–Jurassic mass extinction." Palaeontology 62.2 (2019): 211-224. 

Direct download: Podcast_163_-_Triassic_Fish_Questions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses a few papers that look at the evolutionary history, biogeography, and life habit of Mesozoic turtles. Specifically, they look at a paper about a stem turtle with interesting information about the evolutionary history of turtle morphology, a paper on a special fossil of a marine turtle with exceptionally preserved eggs, and a paper that investigates the biogeographic history of turtles. Basically, its a whole lotta turtles! Meanwhile, James resurrects some old arguments, Curt revisits cherished film scenes, and Amanda has a new obsession.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group look at two papers that are looking at animals with four legs and hard parts on the outside that they can hide in. These things are found on land with legs and in the water with water legs that they use for being not on land. This is a very long set of words, so we will call them hard boys.

The first paper is looking at a hard boy that was full of little round things that would become babies. This is the second hard boy to be found with almost babies and can tell us whether hard boys had lots of babies or not a lot of babies. Hard boys that are in the water usually have a lot of babies that are not expected to live very long; this long dead hard boy actually had not many babies, so although it lived in the water it expected its babies to live.

The second paper is looking at where hard boys lived in the past and how they got to be where they are today. The paper shows that hard boys started in one place that was very big and that they stayed on it as it broke up over time. As it broke up they also moved between the bits, so the hard boys were able to move between the bits even though they are usually slow. They keep doing this until the bits get too far from each other to let the hard boys move across.

 

References:

 Li, Chun, et al. "A Triassic stem turtle with an edentulous beak." Nature560.7719 (2018): 476. 

 Ferreira, Gabriel S., et al. "Phylogeny, biogeography and diversification patterns of side-necked turtles (Testudines: Pleurodira)." Royal Society open science 5.3 (2018): 171773. 

 Cadena, Edwin‐Alberto, et al. "A gravid fossil turtle from the Early Cretaceous reveals a different egg development strategy to that of extant marine turtles." Palaeontology (2018). 

Direct download: Podcast_162_-_Turtle_Power.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at how various animals associated with whales have reacted to environmental shifts over the last several hundred thousand years. The first paper looks at polar bears and reviews data on the potential utility of whale carcasses on polar bear survival during warmer periods in recent Earth history. The second paper investigates how changes in the shell chemistry of barnacles attached to whales may preserve important information on whale migratory patterns. Meanwhile, James has ideas about Final Fantasy and all Square Enix protagonists, Curt thinks James is the Kuja of the podcast, and Amanda finds her ideal Nobody name. Somehow we got on a real theme this episode.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends do not talk about very large big heavy things that had hair once. Instead our friends talk about small weird hard things that don't move that do not look like tiny things with many legs but are actually very close to tiny things with many legs. These things that do not look like tiny things with many legs but are actually very close to the tiny things with many legs are hard and live on the very large big heavy things that had hair once, but do not hurt them. They are friends, but the large big heavy things that had hair once don't actually care about the small weird hard things that don't move. But the small weird hard things that don't move can help us see if the big large heavy things that had hair once move around when it goes from warm to cold or not. It turns out that maybe even very old big large heavy things that had hair once might have moved around just like today's do. Our friends also talk about large white angry things with hair that want food that eat the large big heavy things that had hair once. These large white angry things with hair are in trouble because their home is going away. Their home has gone away in the past, and maybe they ate the big large heavy things that had hair once when they died and came on land. One big large heavy thing that had hair once can be food for lots and lots of large angry white things with hair. But people have killed a lot of the big large heavy things that had hair once, and that might be a problem. Maybe the big white angry things with hair won't be able to eat the large big heavy things that had hair once anymore, and they will all die.   

 

References:

Taylor, Larry D., et al. "Isotopes from fossil coronulid barnacle shells record evidence of migration in multiple Pleistocene whale populations." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2019): 201808759. 

 Laidre, Kristin L., et al. "Historical and potential future importance of large whales as food for polar bears." Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 16.9 (2018): 515-524. 

Direct download: Podcast_161_-_Whales_Not_Whales.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang finds two papers that discuss the ecology of fossil mustelids, the objectively best group of mammals. Both of these papers look at creative solutions to try and interpret past life habits for some very complex and debated fossil organisms. Meanwhile, James becomes passionate about food, Amanda wonders what sitcom the podcast must be, Curt discusses the true American Dream, and everyone is very sorry about how off track we get in this podcast. (Editor’s Note: We sort of get to talking about the papers around 7:45)

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about cute long animals with hair that pretty much everyone of them loves. They find two papers that look at how some of the long animals from very very long again may have lived. They look at the hard parts of the head to see what these long animals could have eaten. Some of these long animal heads are really weird and have big raised edges on the top of the head. One of these papers look at using lot of numbers to try and figure out what one of these very old and weird looking long animals may have eaten. They find that there is a lot of things we need to look at and consider if we want to try and figure out what these very old animals ate. They find that its actually very hard to do, but that's a cool and good thing. We need to use lots of different numbers and study lots of different parts if we want to get a good understand of these very very old animals.

 

References:

Valenciano, Alberto, et al. "Megalictis, the bone-crushing giant mustelid (Carnivora, Mustelidae, Oligobuninae) from the Early Miocene of North America." PloS one 11.4 (2016): e0152430. 

 Prybyla, Alixandra N., Zhijie Jack Tseng, and John J. Flynn. "Biomechanical simulations of Leptarctus primus (Leptarctinae, Carnivora), and new evidence for a badger-like feeding capability." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (2019): e1531290. 

Direct download: Podcast_160_-_Weasel_Time.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

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.

 

References:

 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-fs-Qx8W18 )

 

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.

 

References:

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.

 

References:

 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 (incompetech.com)

Licensed by Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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

The gang discuss two papers that look at the links between morphology and ecology. Specifically, they discuss a fossil marine reptile with a very unique looking skull that gives clues to a possible “platypus” like life-habit. However, they also discuss a modern ecological study of crustacean-eating snakes which shows that sometimes unique behaviors can greatly expand the potential prey species available to a predator. Meanwhile, James regales us with tales of an epic battle, Amanda is good at social interactions, and Curt ponders anime betrayals.

<FYI: The second paper has a video supplemental information showing snake feeding strategies. This is exactly what it sounds like. It is interesting, but you have been warned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtMR7I38s1U >

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about animals with small heads and how these animals lived and ate. First, they talk about a thing that lived in the big blue wet place a long long time ago which had a very very large body. Before hand, we didn't know what the head of this thing looked like. But now we found out that it had a really really small head for its really big body. Also, the head is weird, and has these cuts in it that seem to be where a round long mouth thing used to be. Also, it has a strange hard part in the middle of the head which is not stuck to anything. All of these weird head bits are very much like what we see in one weird animal today which looks like it was made from parts of other animals. This has lead people to think that this old animal who lived in the big blue wet place might have eaten in a way that is a lot like this animal we have today that looks like it was made from parts of other animals.

Next, our friends talk about these animals with no legs who eat rock hard animals with cutting hands who sometimes lose their skin. There are lots of types of these animals with no legs, but only a few of these animals with no legs try to eat these rock hard animals with cutting hands who sometimes lose their skin. This paper wanted to know how these animals with no legs go about eating these rock hard animals. It turns out there are many different ways to do it, with some of them pulling off legs, some of them eating the rock hard animals whole, and some of them waiting until these rock hard animals lose their skin. But the really cool thing is that animals with no legs who had very small mouths could actually eat rock hard animals much larger than themselves. By waiting until these rock hard animals lost their skin, these very small animals with no legs could tear their food to small pieces while it was still able to move and breathe. So the way that the animal with no legs lived was very important for deciding which of the rock hard animals it could eat.

 

References:

Cheng, Long, et al. "Early Triassic marine reptile representing the oldest record of unusually small eyes in reptiles indicating non-visual prey detection." Scientific reports 9.1 (2019): 152. 

 Jayne, Bruce C., Harold K. Voris, and Peter KL Ng. "How big is too big? Using crustacean-eating snakes (Homalopsidae) to test how anatomy and behaviour affect prey size and feeding performance." Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 123.3 (2018): 636-650. 

Direct download: Podcast_156_-_Never_Underestimate_the_Little_Snake.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use fossil evidence to interpret physiology and functional morphology of extinct animals. First, we discuss a new study that suggests ichthyosaurs may have evolved blubber to help them regulate their temperatures. Second, we talk about a new study that uses robotic models to test how early tetrapods may have moved. Meanwhile, Amanda mixes caffeine and alcohol, Curt forgets Shane Black movies, and James tries to pull the ultimate mid episode twist. <Editor’s note: James finally gets to starting the podcast roughly 10 minutes in after forcing connections for every minor digression>

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about animals that are very big but not large, and how early animals with four feet walked. The first paper is very good and talks about an animal that looked like an animal that breathes water but actually is an animal that has just skin and breathes air. These animals had thick skin with lots of stuff under the skin like cute animals with hair that live where it's cold. This stuff is very very very easy to see in this old animal. It also has color. But real color not color that might not be real like in other old animals. One friend thinks that this animal might be very good to eat. Our friends also talk about a very good paper that looks at how early animals with four feet walked. This paper has a lot of people all working together and they do a lot of different things that they are all very good at, so this paper does some different things than other papers. They make a not-real animal, both in a computer and in real life. The computer not-real animal is used to make sure the real-life not-real animal can do things right. It looks like a lot of work. Then they make the real-life not-real animal walk and show that it looks like foot marks left a long time ago by early animals with four feet. They make the real-life not-real animal walk a number of different ways to make sure that they are doing the right thing. The real-life not-real animal leaves foot marks that match up just right with the foot marks left a long time ago.  

 

References:

 Nyakatura, John A., et al. "Reverse-engineering the locomotion of a stem amniote." Nature 565.7739 (2019): 351. 

 Lindgren, Johan, et al. "Soft-tissue evidence for homeothermy and crypsis in a Jurassic ichthyosaur." Nature 564.7736 (2018): 359. 

Direct download: Podcast_155_-_But_What_Would_It_Taste_Like.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang gets together to record their first episode back from the holidays. And what better topic to discuss than hyoliths, those strange shelly Cambrian fossils. Specifically, the gang discusses two papers that look at new discoveries of the soft tissue and the hard shells of these hylothis to try and determine the evolutionary placement of hyoliths. Are hyoliths molluscs? Are hyoliths brachiopods? Are they somewhere in between? Meanwhile, Amanda hears some good news, Curt does his best hyolith impression, and James hits some unexpected snags when he discusses the ramifications of his ideal super powers.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about animals that are big at one end and small at another end. They might be close to things with two parts that are good to eat, or they might be close to things with two parts that are not good to eat. Some people have said not long ago that they are more close to the things with two parts that are not good to eat. Our friends look at two papers that talk about these strange animals that are big at one end and small at the other. One paper says that yes, these animals are more close to the things with two parts that are not good to eat, and says that this is shown by the fact that they have a long thing that makes them stick to the ground. Animals with two parts that are good to eat don't have this long thing that makes them stick to the ground, but animals that have two parts that don't aren't good to eat do. Our friends don't really know if this thing is actually a part that makes the strange animals that are big at one end and small at the other stick to the ground, and would like to see some cool pictures taken to help show more things. The second paper tells us that actually these strange things that are bigger at one end and smaller at another are sort of between the things with two parts that are good to eat and the things with two parts that are not good to eat. They do this by looking at the hard parts that make up the strange things that are big at one end and small at the other, and then looking at the hard parts of the animals with two parts (both good and not good to eat). They look at these hard parts very, very close up. It is very cool.  

 

References:

 Sun, Haijing, et al. "Hyoliths with pedicles illuminate the origin of the brachiopod body plan." Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 285.1887 (2018): 20181780. 

 Li, Luoyang, et al. "Homologous shell microstructures in Cambrian hyoliths and molluscs." Palaeontology (2018).

Direct download: Podcast_154_-_Heyo_Hyoliths.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

At the end of a long year, the gang takes a moment to reflect on the various strategies they use to try and keep themselves sane when things get stressful. So please join us as we discuss the joys of knitting, painting, and unconventional youtube video series in this special self care episode of Palaeo After Dark. Honestly though, it's a lot of knitting. Here’s to a safe and happy new year.

Direct download: Podcast_153_-_Holiday_Self_Care_Spectacular.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35pm EDT

The gang looks over two older review papers that are interested in communities and trophic disruption. What is important in keeping communities together and how can stable systems become destabilized? They use these two review papers as a general jumping off point to talk about the difference between a species that is just non-native vs invasive, trophic collapse or cascades, and the importance of systems interactions in keeping communities at a stable equilibrium. Meanwhile, Amanda is always meeting new people, James wants a reboot, and Curt messes up the simplest part of his job.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about the groups that form when many different animals and the green things they eat all live in the same place and share matter. These groups are always changing over time, but they can  reach an even state for a short time. First, the friends talk about what happens when a new animal or green thing moves into the group. Most of the time, this is not a problem. However, sometimes one new type of animal or green thing can cause a lot of problems for the group. Usually, we see this happening when the group has gotten sick because people keep breaking the place where the group lives. We usually tell if a group is sick by the number of different animals and green things in it. The more different things in a group, the better off it usually is. However, sometimes a group that is not sick can still have one of these new types of animals or green things move in and cause problems. This is because the new thing moving in is helped by one of the animals or green things already living in the group. This means that people need to think bigger about which groups might end up having problems with new types of things, because groups that aren't sick may still have problems. People need to be better about not moving around animals and green things that don't usually live there.

Second, the friends talk about the ways in which these groups can become even over time. It turns out that just a few animals in these groups usually keep the entire group even. If these animals are taken away or hurt, then the whole group suddenly changes to a very different group with far less different animals and green things in it. In other words, if just these very important animals are hurt, the whole group can get very sick. Usually, the animals that are most important at keeping the group even are the ones that eat the most. These animals are also the things that people kill because of food or clothes or fear. People need to not kill these things or everything will break down.

 

References:

Estes, James A., et al. "Trophic downgrading of planet Earth." science 333.6040 (2011): 301-306. 

 Bulleri, Fabio, John F. Bruno, and Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi. "Beyond competition: incorporating positive interactions between species to predict ecosystem invasibility." PLoS biology 6.6 (2008): e162. 

Direct download: Podcast_152_-_Community_Reboot.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use new findings to upend some of our previous interpretations of fossil taxa. First, they talk about the new biogeochemical studies that suggest the odd disc-shaped Ediacaran organism, Dickinsonia, might be the first animal in our fossil record. Second, they talk about some new fossil interpretations that challenge our understanding about the evolution of sauropods (the big, long necked dinosaurs). Also, James discusses posture, Curt buries the dinosaur lede, and Amanda finds out she has things to say… later.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends get together to talk about new things that have been found out about some very old things. First, they talk about this round thing that was around a very very very long time ago. This round thing was very funny looking, and a lot of people had different ideas about what this round thing could have been. But some people just did a study to try and found out what the round thing was made of. It turns out, the round thing is made up of matter with 4 bits in rings. These types of matter rings are only found today in all of the animals. So, they then said that this funny looking round thing was probably an animal.

The friends next talk about these very large animals that had very long necks and lived a long time ago. These long necked animals were thought to have gotten really big after they started walking on all four of their feet and their legs became like trees. However, this study found that there were earlier long necked animals that were almost just as big, but were able to spend some time on two feet and their legs were still very much like legs. This means that these long necked animals got big and got small again over time without needing to get really thick tree legs that would make them have to only walk on four feet.

 

References:

Bobrovskiy, Ilya, et al. "Ancient steroids establish the Ediacaran fossil Dickinsonia as one of the earliest animals." Science 361.6408 (2018): 1246-1249. 

 McPhee, Blair W., et al. "A giant dinosaur from the earliest Jurassic of South Africa and the transition to quadrupedality in early sauropodomorphs." Current Biology 28.19 (2018): 3143-3151. 

Direct download: Podcast_151_-_New_Discoveries_Dickinsonia_and_Sauropodomorphs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang gets together to discuss two papers that are sort of… kind of… very loosely held together by… size? First, they discuss a paper looking at size biases in our current biodiversity crisis and comparing it to our past extinction events. Is the present the same as the past? Second, they discuss a paper that looks at the evolution of whales and asks whether there were long term evolutionary trade-offs associated with growing massive in size. Meanwhile, James slowly freezes to death, Amanda becomes “Memento”, and Curt basically messes everything up. So, a typical podcast I suppose. HAPPY SESQUICENTENNIAL!!!

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends look at two papers that try to see how being a big animal can maybe make it better or worse. The first paper asks whether or not being big is a bad thing for animals that live in the big blue wet thing. To do this, they looked at how many big animals who lived in the big blue wet thing died in the past during really really bad times, and then saw if that number was the same of different to the number of animals who live in the big blue wet thing today. It turns out that all the past really really bad times had about the same number of big things dying. However, today there are so many big animals dying in our big blue wet thing. This is probably because people like to eat these animals, and so they eat all the big things for food. So maybe what is happening today is maybe not quite the same as the really really bad times in the past.

The second paper looks at some really big animals with warm blood that breath through a spot near the tops of their heads, and live in the big blue wet thing. These really big animals didn't always start out so big. A long long long time ago, the older mothers and fathers of these really big animals were not always so big. This paper shows how the mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers of these animals changed over time. It turns out that these animals started getting really big very late in time, and that it might have been because of some changes in the big blue wet thing where they live. Also, when some of these animals got really really big, the rest of their sisters and brothers died out. The paper says that maybe these things that get really really big might also now be very slow at making new types of these animals.

 

References:

 Payne, Jonathan L., et al. "Ecological selectivity of the emerging mass extinction in the oceans." Science 353.6305 (2016): 1284-1286. 

 Marx, Felix G., and R. Ewan Fordyce. "Baleen boom and bust: a synthesis of mysticete phylogeny, diversity and disparity." Royal Society Open Science 2.4 (2015): 140434. 

 

Direct download: Podcast_150_-_Podcasting_About_the_Big_Boys.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Come and join us for an extra length episode where we discuss the talks we saw during the 2018 Geological Society of America Meeting at Indianapolis.

Day 2 starts at 0:35:09, Day 3 starts at 2:04:36, and Day 4 starts at 3:28:07.

Direct download: Podcast_149_-_GSA_2018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:05pm EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use the pelvis and spine material from pterosaur fossils to infer locomotion of these extinct flying archosaurs, Specifically, we talk about how muscle attachment structures as well as channels within the bones can be used to infer the mobility of ancient animals. Also, Amanda tries to resist talking about food, James makes boner jokes, and Curt ends up writing odd crossover fan-fiction.

 

Up-Goer Five (James “Oh God I Need an Adult” Edition):

The group look at two papers that are studying the dead animals that can fly but do not have anything covering their bodies. The first paper looks at how the part of the flying animal with nothing on their bodies that holds the legs and also where animals have to touch to make babies (here after: the fuck box) is different in different animals. The paper shows that the fuck box looks different in baby animals to grown animals, and that we need to recognize babies so that we don't make bad ideas about how these animals changed through time. They also show that the fuck boxes in the earliest of these animals look a little more like the fuck boxes of babies, but that they are very definitely actually over 18. They also show that there are at least two different types of fuck boxes in these animals, and this means that these animals would have walked in different ways to each other.

The other paper looks at the fuck box and back of a small animal that could fly that is not covered in stuff and looks at the spaces in it to see how the bits that make the animal go looked like. The spaces for the bits that make the animal go show that it had big legs, and probably was good at walking, even though it was small and would not have needed to be good at walking. It has family that got very big though, and it seems that these big family friends would have been good at walking too.

 

References: 

Hyder, Elaine S., Mark P. Witton, and David M. Martill. "Evolution of the pterosaur pelvis." Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 59.1 (2014): 109-124. 

 Martin‐Silverstone, Elizabeth, Daniel Sykes, and Darren Naish. "Does postcranial palaeoneurology provide insight into pterosaur behaviour and lifestyle? New data from the azhdarchoid Vectidraco and the ornithocheirids Coloborhynchus and Anhanguera." Palaeontology(2018). 

Direct download: Podcast_148_-_Pterosaur_Pelvises.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang returns to one of their favorite pet topics, food! This week, we discuss two papers that investigate what different animals are eating. Specifically, we focus on a paper that uses fossil data to infer the feeding strategies of extinct giant otters, and another paper that seeks to answer the question of whether or not modern bonnethead sharks are omnivorous. Also, Amanda finds her spirit anime character, James workshops new ideas for the podcast at the worst possible time, Curt leads us on a strange aside about bears and wolves, and we all work together to invent the perfect animal.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition)

Our friends talk about what animals eat. First they talk about long four legged animals with hair who have high voices. Some of these long four legged animals from a long time ago were really really big. When we study the hard parts of these really big, long four legged animals, we find that they can break open other really hard things in order to eat them. When we look at the hard parts of living long, four legged animals with high voices, we find that these old big long four legged animals were probably able to break things in different ways than the living animals just because they were so very very big. This shows that long four legged animals in the past could fill different jobs in the world than the living, much smaller four legged animals.

 

Second, the friends look at animals that spend all their time in the water and have lots of inside parts that do not break. These water animals are often thought to eat other animals only. However, these water animals have been shown to eat green things that make food from the sun. People did not know if these water animals meant to eat the green things that make food from the sun, or if they did not mean to. Some people took some of these water animals and had these water animals eat a lot of green things that make food from the sun. The water animals got bigger, and seemed to do well when they were made to eat only these green things. The people decided that this meant the water animals meant to eat the green things and that meant that not all water animals with inside parts that do not break eat only other animals.

 

References:

 Tseng, Z. Jack, et al. "Feeding capability in the extinct giant Siamogale melilutra and comparative mandibular biomechanics of living Lutrinae." Scientific Reports 7.1 (2017): 15225. 


 Leigh, Samantha C., Yannis P. Papastamatiou, and Donovan P. German. "Seagrass digestion by a notorious ‘carnivore’." Proc. R. Soc. B 285.1886 (2018): 20181583. 

Direct download: Podcast_147_-_Otters_and_Sharks_and_Wolves_Oh_My.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at our amazing fossil insect record. One of these studies looks at preserved fly pupae and shows some unexpected evidence of parasitism. The other study tries to understand the properties of tree sap that allows amber to preserve such amazingly detailed fossil insects. Meanwhile, Amanda has a weather catastrophe, Curt can do better, and James is a dream warrior.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about very small things with six legs that are often hard to find after they die. These very small things with six legs might get stuck in tree stuff and die. That is where we will usually find them. The first paper finds very small things with six legs inside the changing space of other even smaller very small things with six legs. These very small things with six legs would break into the changing space of the other even smaller very small things with six legs and eat them. We don't know if they ate them slowly or fast, but they ate them while they were not dead. This is not usual to find after things die so it is very good to find. The other paper talks about how very small things things with six legs get stuck in tree stuff and die. The idea is that if they dry out first maybe they are more probably not going away after getting stuck in tree stuff and dying. This paper says no, drying out will make these very small things with six legs go away more after they get stuck in tree stuff and die. They also look at the very very very small things inside the very small things with six legs and say that these very very very small things help make the very small things with six legs go away. If we make the very very very small things go away with doctor stuff then the very small things with six legs are going to stay when they get stuck in tree stuff and die. 

 

References:

 van de Kamp, Thomas, et al. "Parasitoid biology preserved in mineralized fossils." Nature communications 9.1 (2018): 3325. 


 McCoy, Victoria E., et al. "Unlocking preservation bias in the amber insect fossil record through experimental decay." PloS one 13.4 (2018): e0195482. 

Direct download: Podcast_146_-_Not_All_Insects_Are_in_Amber.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that deal with the origins of biomineralization (how living things make hard minerals to serve as skeletal structures). Specifically, we look at one paper focused on the origins of bone and a second paper focusing on some of the first instances of biomineralization in the fossil record. Also, Curt keeps a promise, James knows how to make a good impression on the neighborhood, and Amanda gets blamed for the actions of her cats.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about things that have hard parts before there were supposed to be hard parts and how important hard parts that are inside of animals first was made. Very early animals that have hard parts before there were supposed to be hard parts are the same as things that do not hard parts. This paper says that it is because the place that they lived had too much of stuff that makes parts hard. These animals took the stuff out of water not because they wanted to, then they had to make it go away or they would die. So they made parts of their body hard. Later on making parts of the body hard was really important and they started doing it more and more even if there wasn't too much stuff in the water that makes parts hard. The second paper talks about how a weird type of hard part that is one of the important hard parts inside animals came to be. Some people think it is a new type of hard part inside of animals, but others say it is not. It turns out it is actually not really new like we thought but is actually a type of important hard part inside animals that is still around today. It is just a type that is not around today anymore.  

 

References:

Wood, Rachel, Andrey Yu Ivantsov, and Andrey Yu Zhuravlev. "First macrobiota biomineralization was environmentally triggered." Proc. R. Soc. B 284.1851 (2017): 20170059. 

 Keating, Joseph N., et al. "The nature of aspidin and the evolutionary origin of bone." Nature ecology & evolution(2018): 1. 

Direct download: Podcast_145_-_Bones_and_Hard_Parts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that investigate the ways that tetrapods return to the sea. It's another opportunity for Amanda talk at length about her favorite topic, CONVERGENCE. Meanwhile, James has ideas about "moral fortitude", Curt makes slightly off references to 80s films, Amanda exercises her desire to be deadly, and Mr. Jowls has some opinions that need to be heard.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 Today our friends talk about animals with four feet that go back to the water. This is just a reason for our friends to talk about why some animals that are not very close like brothers look very much the same. The first paper says that since the start of the time of large animals with no hair and big teeth, there are more animals with four feet that go back to the water. Many of the animals with four feet that go back to the water look so very the same it is sometimes hard to tell that they are different if you do not look close. They talk about things that make these animals with four feet that go back to the water better for being in water, and how whole big groups of animals do not all change the same, but small groups change faster or more than others. They also talk about how and why these animals are changing. The second paper is about an animal with four feet and a long neck that goes back to the water. It has funny teeth and did not eat very small things like the largest animals living today that have no teeth, even though some things about this animal with four feet and a long neck that goes back to the water that might make you think that they ate very small things. It also has very heavy inside hard parts like big heavy water animals that get hit by people in wood things that go fast. This makes it heavy in water so it does not stay on top of the water but goes down to the bottom. This is how it ate food maybe.   

References:

de Miguel Chaves, Carlos, Francisco Ortega, and Adán Pérez-García. "New highly pachyostotic nothosauroid interpreted as a filter-feeding Triassic marine reptile." Biology Letters 14.8 (2018): 20180130. 

 Kelley, Neil P., and Nicholas D. Pyenson. "Evolutionary innovation and ecology in marine tetrapods from the Triassic to the Anthropocene." Science 348.6232 (2015): aaa3716. 

Direct download: Podcast_144_-_Return_to_the_Sea.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Well, it has finally come to this. After almost 150 episodes under our belts, we've finally produced a podcast where almost no one read any of the papers. This episode was supposed to be about squamate (lizards and snakes) evolution. In particular, we were supposed to look at two papers that tried to determine when squamates must have first diversified. And... we kind of accomplish that. Meanwhile, James shares his weak points, Amanda demonstrates a super power, and Curt laments falling asleep on the couch being the only person to read these papers. We swear the next one will be better.... maybe.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends were supposed to talk about these papers that they read. However, they didn't read these papers and so they spend some of the time trying make it up as they go along. The papers that the friends were supposed to read were about cold, cute things with dry skin and four legs (most of the time). Both of these papers suggest that these cold, cute things probably came about well before we thought they did. In fact, we probably had the first cold, cute things just around or before the time a really bad thing happened that hurt all living things around the world. It was the worst of the bad things to have ever happened. These papers suggest that these cold, cute things might have done alright during these really bad times, and that may be the reason why there are so many cute, cold things around the world today.

 

References:

 Tałanda, Mateusz. "An exceptionally preserved Jurassic skink suggests lizard diversification preceded fragmentation of Pangaea." Palaeontology (2018). 

 Simões, Tiago R., et al. "The origin of squamates revealed by a Middle Triassic lizard from the Italian Alps." Nature 557.7707 (2018): 706. 

Direct download: Podcast_143_-_Squamate_Talk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the origins of the latitudinal diversity gradient, the tendency for higher species diversity in the tropics and lower diversity closer to the poles. Specifically, these studies use comprehensive phylogenetic analyses of modern taxa to try and determine if the current diversity gradient is caused by increased speciation or decreased extinction at the equator. Meanwhile, Amanda shares diseases with her cat, James decides to "treat" himself to a Lime-A-Rita, and Curt just re-enacts scenes from other media.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group looks at two papers that are interested in where animals live. They are looking at a well known thing where more animals live near the middle of the world than at either end. However, it is not clear whether there are more animals in the middle of the world because they have been there longer and so the number of animals has just built up over time, or whether animals in these areas make more types of animals more quickly.

The first study looks at animals that have no legs and live in the water that you can not drink and breath water. This study finds that animals that live in the middle of the world actually make other animals slower than animals that live at either end of the world do, so the reason there are more animals in the middle of the world is probably because they have been there longer. The second study looks at animals with hard outer skin that have six legs and live in big families. This study finds that there is no change across the world in how quickly these animals make more animals, which is different from the first study. However, this does mean that the reason there are more animals in the middle of the world is because they have been there longer, so this agrees with the first study!

 

References: 

 Economo, Evan P., et al. "Macroecology and macroevolution of the latitudinal diversity gradient in ants." Nature communications 9.1 (2018): 1778. 

 Rabosky, Daniel L., et al. "An inverse latitudinal gradient in speciation rate for marine fishes." Nature (2018): 1. 

Direct download: Podcast_142_-_The_LDG.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the effects of climate change on cold adapted species, as well as the possibility of evolutionary rescue as a means of preserving this biodiversity. Also, it gives them all a great excuse to just talk about weasels (and somehow badgers as well). Meanwhile, Curt invents alternative Nintendo canon, James wants a giant robot spider body, and Amanda invents personalities for pictures of weasels.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about how when things get warm it is bad for lots of things that live. Our friends look at long things with hair that need to eat more. These long things with hair that need to eat more are either dark or white. They are white when it is cold and dark when it is warm and that helps them hide. But with things turning more warm every year, it is getting too different for these long things with hair that need to eat more. Now sometimes they change from dark to white when it is still too warm, or, more often, they are still white when it is time to be dark. One paper says that this means the long things with hair that need to eat more get eaten more often by big things with big teeth and pointed fingers and hair, or by big things that fly that have no teeth and pointed fingers and no hair. The other paper says that maybe we need to look at some parts of the world that no one cares about and save them for animals, because these are places where the long things with hair that need to eat more that change color from dark to white and back to dark may be able to live.

 

References: 

 Atmeh, Kamal, Anna Andruszkiewicz, and Karol Zub. "Climate change is affecting mortality of weasels due to camouflage mismatch." Scientific reports 8.1 (2018): 7648. 

 Mills, L. Scott, et al. "Winter color polymorphisms identify global hot spots for evolutionary rescue from climate change." Science 359.6379 (2018): 1033-1036. 

Direct download: Podcast_141_-_Save_the_Weasels.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang returns to a favorite topic, the link between morphology and ecology. Specifically, they look at two studies that use the morphology of ammonites and early fish as a proxy for ecological complexity. Also, James enjoy controlling giant robots, Curt considers the impact of branding, and Amanda tries a new 14% beer with all of the expected consequences. So enjoy as we get completely sidetracked talking about feet, eating zoras, how Amanda is secretly Tien from Dragon Ball, Warhammer 40k, and Deadpool. So, it’s one of those podcasts. <EDITOR’S NOTE: Actual science talk starts at roughly 16 minutes in>

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at the way things look and how that changes what you can do to live. The first paper looks at things with long arms and hard covers that move through the water. The paper talks about how old things with long arms are the same and different to things with long arms that live today. It also looks at how these things with long arms change how they look and what they do as they get older. The paper shows that the old things often changed how they looked and do very different things as they got older. Also, the older things with long arms are doing things that are very different from the new things with long arms.

The next paper talks about other things that move through water and are good to eat. It looks at the mouths of these things that are good to eat to see if the mouths have become more different over time. Some people think that the mouths might have become different very early on, while other people think the mouths slowly got more different over time. This paper says that the mouths in the past were probably not as different as the mouths today, since a new group of things that are good to eat has appeared that have very very different mouths.

 

References:

 Walton, Sonny A., and Dieter Korn. "An ecomorphospace for the Ammonoidea." Paleobiology 44.2 (2018): 273-289. 

 Hill, Jennifer J., et al. "Evolution of jaw disparity in fishes." Palaeontology (2018). 

Direct download: Podcast_140_-_Staying_on_Ecomorphic_Brand.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers on suction feeding among tetrapods, the process by which animals take in water to pull food into their mouths. Specifically they look at two papers showing suction feeding strategies in fossil whales and in modern auks. Meanwhile, Amanda finds new ways to become ill, James finds new things to get angry about, and Curt makes new, very unfortunate deviant art searches.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group look at two papers that deal with animals that suck. The first paper is looking at how animals with hair that live in the place where water can not be drunk got big. One of the thing that these really big animals share is that they eat lots of little food all at once by pushing it through a brush, and it is thought that they got big because they could push so much food through their brush at once that they could eat lots and lots. The study looks at the hard parts of a really old hair covered water animal that got very big, but it does not have the brush and so could not eat lots of small food. Instead, it seems like the animal would have got its food by sucking, and ate lots of food that was not too big but not too small instead by sucking it into their mouth and then pushing the water out. This shows that these animals could get big without pushing lots of small food through a brush, and that the brush pushing eating might have come from sucking first.

The second paper takes small animals that can fly and live on the big water that you can not drink and sees how they ate. These animals eat very small animals as their food and people have looked inside them and found out that they would need to eat a lot of these small animals in order to live. It was said that these flying animals must have eaten lots of small animals at once by pushing them through a small space like a brush like the really big animals that live if the big water you can not drink do, however no one has ever seen these flying animals eat. The study takes some of these flying animals and keeps them in a room with lots of water for a while that is full of their food and watches how they eat. It turns out that these flying animals suck too, and they suck up their small food by seeing them and sucking them in one or a few at a time. This sucking is just like the sucking that the old really big animal with hair and no legs would have done. This also suggests that the flying animals do not need to eat quite as much as the people that looked inside them thought.

 

References: 

Enstipp, Manfred R., et al. "Almost like a whale–First evidence of suction-feeding in a seabird." Journal of Experimental Biology (2018): jeb-182170. 

 Fordyce, R. Ewan, and Felix G. Marx. "Gigantism precedes filter feeding in baleen whale evolution." Current Biology(2018). 

Direct download: Podcast_139_-_Whales_and_Birds_Suck.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss two papers that use various lines of evidence to try to determine what Cambrian animals (particularly trilobites) might have eaten. Which of these animals were detritivores or coprophagous, and which animals might have been active predators? Meanwhile, James tries to keep a schedule, Amanda finds a way to time travel 10 minutes, and Curt fights against nature.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about very old things with no inside hard bits that ate shit and also how stomachs grow in cute round hard animals with lots of parts. The papers look at very old times and how all things are put together living in the same place and how they all work together in this place and time. At first our friends talk about pieces of shit that show how very old things with no inside hard bits ate food and how that means they fit into this place and time. The shit is found in the ends of where the very old things with no inside hard bits lived. There are other animals found with the shit that might be eating the shit or also might be part of the shit, meaning that the very old things with no inside hard bits ate them. They also say that these pieces of shit that have a different kind of animal that has not been well known until not long ago means that these different animals were more like a good-to-eat animal than a not-good-to-eat animal. One of our friends falls asleep but it is not because the paper is not fun. Then our friends talk about how the head-stomach gets bigger in these cute round animals with lots of parts. They think a bigger head-stomach means that these cute round animals with lots of parts ate other animals and not just stuff on the ground. 

 

References:

Lerosey‐Aubril, Rudy, and John S. Peel. "Gut evolution in early Cambrian trilobites and the origin of predation on infaunal macroinvertebrates: evidence from muscle scars in Mesolenellus." Palaeontology (2018). 

 Kimmig, Julien, and Brian R. Pratt. "Coprolites in the Ravens Throat River LAGERSTÄTTE of Northwestern Canada: Implications for the Middle Cambrian Food Web." Palaios 33.4 (2018): 125-140. 

Direct download: Podcast_138_-_Cambrian_Food.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss several papers that detail the changes necessary for a terrestrial tetrapod to  transition into aquatic marine lifestyle. They focus on two examples, fossil sloths and fossil crocodyliforms. Also, James discusses some unconventional forms of hydraulic fracking, Curt imagines the sloth action film, Amanda details her plans to get "swole", and everyone has a lively "debate" on the correct pronunciation of the word sloth.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

This week the group look at two studies of groups of animals that have moved into the big water that is full of little rocks that make food great but are bad for you if you have too much and also make it really hard for animals that are not used to it to live in the water. The first group are angry animals without hair that are around today and usually live in water that is found on land, but a long time ago some of them moved into the bit water full of little rocks. These angry animals began to change from the ones that live in the land water, and their land feet turn into water feet and their back end grows to be like a water animal's back end usually looks like. The study looks at the left overs of animals from a long time ago that show what parts of the inside of the head looked like. These show that once they moved in to the big water they grew little balls in their head that let them deal with the little rocks that are all in the big water. This shows that they spent all their time in the big water and did not go back to the land water, and that they could eat food that lived in the big water without dealing with the small rocks, such as small animals with no hard parts that had many arms. The second group are big animals with hair that are very slow today. While these slow animals are small today and live in trees, in the past they could be big and one group of them went to live in water. The study looks at the hard parts that keep the animals from falling over and found that once they move into water, the hard parts start to fill up and get more heavy. The study looks at the hard parts of other groups that go back into the water and find that they make their hard parts heavy too.

 

References:

 Fernández, Marta, and Zulma Gasparini. "Salt glands in the Jurassic metriorhynchid Geosaurus: implications for the evolution of osmoregulation in Mesozoic marine crocodyliforms." Naturwissenschaften 95.1 (2008): 79-84. 

 Fernández, Marta, and Zulma Gasparini. "Salt glands in a Tithonian metriorhynchid crocodyliform and their physiological significance." Lethaia 33.4 (2000): 269-276. 

 Amson, Eli, Guillaume Billet, and Christian de Muizon. "Evolutionary adaptation to aquatic lifestyle in extinct sloths can lead to systemic alteration of bone structure." Proc. R. Soc. B 285.1878 (2018): 20180270. 

Direct download: Podcast_137_-_Sloth_vs_Sloth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses coprolites (fossil feces) and the interesting information that we can glean from them. Specifically, they talk about two papers which look at moa coprolites from New Zealand to determine aspects of the New Zealand ecology before human intervention. But the powers of the internet conspire to destroy our intrepid podcasting trio, ultimately claiming Amanda's internet for nearly half of the episode. Can James and Curt survive having to talk to each other for a whole 30 minutes? Tune in to find out.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Today the friends talk about shit. Yes of all the words for what comes out of your bottom, the only one of them that we can use in this write up is shit. Think about that. What does that mean about us? As a people? As a world?

Anyways, there is a lot we can learn from shit. The friends look at how shit from large angry things that are brother and sister to things that could fly can tell us about the world these angry things lived in. These large angry things are now dead. But we still have a lot of their shit lying around, and we can use it to find out what they ate. What they find is that these angry things might have ate some things that help green things which make food from the sun to grow, but they probably did not move those green things around in their shit. They also find that there were animals that lived in the angry things which died when the angry things died. All in all, it turns out there is a lot that shit can tell us.

 

References: 

Carpenter, Joanna K., et al. "An avian seed dispersal paradox: New Zealand's extinct megafaunal birds did not disperse large seeds." Proc. R. Soc. B 285.1877 (2018): 20180352. 

 Boast, Alexander P., et al. "Coprolites reveal ecological interactions lost with the extinction of New Zealand birds." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018): 201712337. 

Direct download: Podcast_136_-_The_Haunted_Podcast_Returns.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses a few papers that illustrate how different evolutionary processes can generate very similar morphological structures. Yes, we're talking about convergence again. But this time, things get kind of weird in the second half. Meanwhile, Amanda wrestles with the love of her cats, Curt understands his place in the group, and James invents a brand new way for birds to fly.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 

Today our friends talk about things that are not close but look a lot like each other. The first part is about animals that eat other things that are living. They say that sometimes it is the world around things that make them look like each other. Sometimes it is things like how much rain there is or how fast they grow up. So it is not always the fact that they all eat the same thing. But it might be. More things need to be done to see more about animals that eat other things. The second part is about things that fly and have no teeth, but also big angry animals with big teeth and no hair. They say that there is a part of where the leg ends that points behind that has parts that make the back part of the animal move, and that it is part of how the big angry animals with big teeth and no hair breathe. But they don't say how they figure this out very well. They confuse our friends. Then they say that this part of where the leg ends that points behind and the parts that make the back part of the animal move are important because they help the animals that can fly with no teeth fly the best of any big animal that can fly. They say it is important for the animals that can fly with no teeth to jump up when they fly. Our friends do not agree.

 

References:

Tseng, Z. Jack, and John J. Flynn. "Structure-function covariation with nonfeeding ecological variables influences evolution of feeding specialization in Carnivora." Science advances 4.2 (2018): eaao5441. 

 Macaluso, Loredana, and Emanuel Tschopp. "Evolutionary changes in pubic orientation in dinosaurs are more strongly correlated with the ventilation system than with herbivory." Palaeontology (2018). 

Direct download: Podcast_135_-_Competing_Convergences.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look how the environmental stresses caused from warming temperatures can affect fish. Specifically, we look at a paleontological study focusing on the Permian and Late-Triassic extinctions (often considered to be runaway greenhouse scenarios) as well as a modern study looking at the impact modern global climate change might have on goby fishes. Also, James offers to train Amanda, Curt starts a brand new business venture, and Amanda decides to pump pure sugar into her veins. Also, apologies for the fact that James has finally finished Dragon Ball Z and naturally keeps finding patterns.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends talk about papers that show how changes around the world can cause animals that move through the water and breathe water to die. The first paper talks about animals that move through the water and breathe water that died a very long time ago, during a time when nearly everything died. During this time when nearly everything died a lot of really bad things happened, like the world got a lot warmer and the water became hard to breathe. During this time, it appears that some of the animals that move through the water and breathe water actually did really well, while almost all of the other animals living in the water did really bad. The animals that did really well would eventually become a family we see today that has big teeth, eats a lot, and has soft parts inside. The paper says that maybe the way these animals lived help them get through this bad time when nearly everything died.

The second paper looks at animals that move through water and breathe water which are around today, and how these animals are being hurt by how much warmer it has been getting each year. They took some of these animals and raised them for a year in a warm home. Then they took the animals and made it warmer and saw if the animals were happy. When the animals got sad, they stopped and looked at how warm it got. They found that lots of things changed how warm the animals could get before they got sad. Animals that were brother and sister got sad in the same kinds of ways. Also, how warm the animals got in the year of training changed when the animals got sad. They showed that there were a lot of things to consider when we want to know how warm these animals can get before they become sad.

 

References:

 Vázquez, Priscilla, and Matthew E. Clapham. "Extinction selectivity among marine fishes during multistressor global change in the end-Permian and end-Triassic crises." Geology45.5 (2017): 395-398. 

 Di Santo, Valentina, and Phillip S. Lobel. "Body size and thermal tolerance in tropical gobies." Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology 487 (2017): 11-17. 

Direct download: Podcast_134_-_Training_Fish_in_the_Hyperbolic_Time_Chamber.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses the various ways that injuries and diseases can be preserved in the fossil record, as well as the information these pathologies can give us on ancient biodiversity and behavior. Also, Amanda is coerced into accepting a delivery, James discusses the ways in which he sizes up the world, and Curt makes cutting comparisons between fictional and real life characters.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about things that do not look right because the animal is broken or sick. First our friends talk about animals that are good to eat that have many arms. Some of these animals that are good to eat that have many arms are very old and do not live anymore. These animals that are gone have a rock inside their body that used to be on the outside but is now on the inside. One of these animals that are good to eat that have many arms has one of these rocks inside them and the rock has been hurt. We can look inside the rock where it has been hurt and see that it is not full of rock. We think that this rock was hurt by a little animal with many legs and a soft body that often makes water animals today sick or hurt. We think that this little animal with many legs and a soft body might have made this animal that is good to eat with many arms so sick it could not eat and died. Second our friends talk about an animal with four short legs and no hair. This animal with four short legs and no hair has a long behind. This long behind can sometimes fall off and the animal is fine. A big angry animal will eat the the behind and leave the animal with four short legs and no hair alone. Our friends talk about a very old animal with four short legs and no hair that had a behind that could fall off. It is the same as some living animals with four short legs and no hair, but it is also not the same. But it means that maybe the very oldest of these animals with four short legs and no hair could leave their behinds for big angry animals to eat, and they could run away and be safe, and so this thing that these animals can do is not a new thing but an old thing that has been around a long time, and not being able to do it is the new thing. 

 

References:

LeBlanc, A. R. H., et al. "Caudal autotomy as anti-predatory behaviour in Palaeozoic reptiles." Scientific reports 8.1 (2018): 3328. 

 Hoffmann, René, et al. "A Late Cretaceous pathological belemnite rostrum with evidence of infection by an endoparasite." Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie-Abhandlungen287.3 (2018): 335-349. 

Direct download: Podcast_133_-_Long-Standing_Pathologies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang spends their 5th anniversary podcast discussing the evolution and distribution of early tetrapods. So basically, we messed up. But at least you can enjoy some insightful discussions about how to improve Sabrina the Teenage Witch. That's something, right?

 

Right?

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group forget and barely care about their day which comes around every year for five times now. This time they talk about animals with four legs at around the time where they just got out of the water and lived on land before a lot of them died when the things that are not animals and are green and make air went away and everything got less wet.

The first paper looks at when these wet areas went away and whether these early animals with four legs ended up with fewer animals that are found over a wider area or lots of animals that are each found in only one area each. It had been though that this change in how much wet made these animals got moved into lots of small areas, but the new paper shows that actually animals with four legs got a lot moved to much wider areas, but that this is because the animals with four legs that lived in water became much less easier to be found while animals with four legs that live on land and have balls that their babies live in early on that don't need water take over and change how animals with four legs lived on the big ball of rock we live on.

The second paper looks at where animals with four legs lived before and after the bad time where almost all life died. The paper is interested at whether more animals lived on the middle of the outside of the big ball of rock that we all lived on or whether more of them lived near the top or the bottom of the outside of the big ball of rock. The paper is looking at whether there really is a time where animals with four legs do not live at the middle of the big ball of rock during the bad times where everything was dying. The paper looks at this by seeing how much the rocks lie to us and hide animals that were really there. One way they do this is by looking at tracks as well as dead bodies. This leads to shouting but both people are right and it is okay. The paper shows that while there was some time where there were less animals with four legs in the middle of the big ball of rock, they were still there and so maybe there were just less of them than before but they were not all dead.

 

References:

 Dunne, Emma M., et al. "Diversity change during the rise of tetrapods and the impact of the ‘Carboniferous rainforest collapse’." Proc. R. Soc. B. Vol. 285. No. 1872. The Royal Society, 2018. 

 Bernardi, Massimo, Fabio Massimo Petti, and Michael J. Benton. "Tetrapod distribution and temperature rise during the Permian–Triassic mass extinction." Proc. R. Soc. B. Vol. 285. No. 1870. The Royal Society, 2018. 

 

Additional music by Russell Watson used in accordance with fair use under the creative commons license. Music was modified from its original form.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/

Direct download: Podcast_132_-_Weve_Been_Doing_This_For_Five_Years.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the complex evolutionary history of sauropod dinosaurs. In particular, these papers try to determine how sauropods geography might have affected their evolutionary history. Also, James learns some valuable lessons about hot tub safety, Curt mindlessly quotes Futurama, Amanda discusses the surprising skills of her cats, and everyone has a deeply disturbing realization about the Flintstones.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

This week the group looks at two papers that focus on big stupid angry animals with no hair. Both papers are looking at the type of big stupid angry animals with no hair that were very big and had thick legs and really long necks. The papers are interested in where the big angry animals with really long necks lived, and how where they lived change over time.

The first paper looks at a new big angry animal with a long neck from the place where food is big and people are armed. The reason this animal is interesting is because it is part of a group that was thought to all be dead but the new animal shows that they lived longer than we thought. All the older animals in its group came from a long way away, and so this animal shows that the group lived longer than we thought and that they did so by moving into a new place.

The second paper also looks at a big angry animal with a long neck from the hot place with the long water running through it. This animal is part of a group we find on lots of other places, but not here. This animal shows that the group made it into the very large land where the rains are, even though a different group of animals with very long necks are usually there.

 

References

 Sallam, Hesham M., et al. "New Egyptian sauropod reveals Late Cretaceous dinosaur dispersal between Europe and Africa." Nature ecology & evolution (2018): 1. 

 Royo-Torres, Rafael, et al. "Descendants of the Jurassic turiasaurs from Iberia found refuge in the Early Cretaceous of western USA." Scientific Reports 7.1 (2017): 14311. 

Direct download: Podcast_131_-_Would_Sauropod_Ribs_Be_Tasty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use ichnology (the study of traces left by animals) as evidence for biological diversity in regions where body fossils are not preserved. Also, Amanda and James have a vigorous debate about nouns while Curt retreats to his happy place, and everybody kind of vaguely remembers that thing from that one episode of Dragon Ball.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about things that were once there but aren't now but you can still see where they were. Using these things that you can see where they once were, we can tell what these things were doing and what kind of place they lived in. A lot of the time we find the things that you can see where they once were, but we don't actually find the things themselves. That can mean a lot of different things. It might mean that the place they were living in was very small and didn't have a lot of space for lots of things to live in. It might mean that the place was not very good to live in and only a few things could live there. Our friends talk about a paper that says that things living in this one place were very different than things that probably lived in other places because the space was very different. Our friends also look at a paper that says someone found something of an animal that was once there but is not there now, and at the same time we have actual body pieces of the animal, just in different places. They think this thing that was left behind when the animal was once there but isn't there now means that this animal was in water. People don't know if this animal first showed up on land or in water and it seems like this should mean they first show up in water. These things that were made by something that was once there but isn't there anymore is really very good for showing things that might be around but we don't know for sure. Using these things we can show that sometimes things were around before we actually thought they were when we look at body pieces.

 

References:

 Reolid, Matías, et al. "Ichnological evidence of semi-aquatic locomotion in early turtles from eastern Iberia during the Carnian Humid Episode (Late Triassic)." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 490 (2018): 450-461. 

 Marriott, Susan B., Lance B. Morrissey, and Robert D. Hillier. "Trace fossil assemblages in Upper Silurian tuff beds: evidence of biodiversity in the Old Red Sandstone of southwest Wales, UK." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 274.3-4 (2009): 160-172. 

Direct download: Podcast_130_-_Trace_Fossil_Diversity_is_Over_9000.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discuss a recent paper which suggests that pollinating butterflies and moths may have evolved well before the evolution of flowering plants (angiosperms). Curt seizes this opportunity to force them all to read about exaptation. Meanwhile, James has some unique ideas about automotive safety and Amanda demonstrates her amazing Google skills in the face of uncertainty. 

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

 

Today our friends talk about a thing that is very important. Many people have an idea that a thing came about because it had a use. But it might be, sometimes, that a thing came about because it was together with a thing that had a use. Or maybe it even came about because it just did. Maybe not everything has to come about because it has a use. One of the things our friends read comes up with a name for this idea. And it talks about things that mean maybe that idea is right. And it also talks a lot about words and one of our friends thinks that that part is not fun. The other thing our friends read is about little things that fly and are colored pretty. These little pretty-colored things that fly are thought to have come about along with green things that smell good. But it seems that maybe these pretty-colored things that fly come about a lot earlier than the green things that smell good. This is just like that idea where a thing has come about even though it had no use for it yet.

 

References:

Gould, Stephen Jay, and Elisabeth S. Vrba. "Exaptation—a missing term in the science of form." Paleobiology 8.1 (1982): 4-15. 

 van Eldijk, Timo JB, et al. "A Triassic-Jurassic window into the evolution of Lepidoptera." Science advances 4.1 (2018): e1701568. 

Direct download: Podcast_129_-_Curt_Made_Us_Talk_About_Exaptation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang talks about conservation paleoecology; the study of the fossil record to inform modern conservation efforts. Specifically, they look at two papers, one which is an overview of the current issues in the field, and the other which focuses on how mass extinctions can change the distribution of species on the planet. Also, James has very strong opinions about the most recent Splatoon 2 Splatfest, Amanda nearly breaks an arm, and Curt tries in vain to hold everything together.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends talk about how life is dying. A lot of people think life is dying faster than we think it should and that people might be causing life to die faster. The friends talk about how we can use the past to see how quickly life died in the past in order to let us know if the dying we see right now is a problem. There are a lot of people who have looked at the past and they find that people have changed the land and water and air a great deal. These changes do seem to have helped make life die faster. But there are things we can try to do to try and stop this, and keep more life in the land, water, and air. And we can use the past to understand what land, water, or air we should put the most work behind to really stop life from dying so quickly.

The friends then talk about a time when a lot of life died at once. At this time, a big change happened in the air, land, and water. At that time, most animals in the land, water, and air died off, but some animals did really well. They seemed to like the changes and moved all around. These animals that moved all around might have changed how life gets better after dying a lot. This suggests that animals moving all around might be something we see during times when big changes in the land, air, and water cause life to start dying really fast.

 

References: 

 Button, David J., et al. "Mass extinctions drove increased global faunal cosmopolitanism on the supercontinent Pangaea." Nature communications 8.1 (2017): 733. 

 Barnosky, Anthony D., et al. "Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems." Science 355.6325 (2017): eaah4787. 

Direct download: Podcast_128_-_Conservation_Paleoecology.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates the new year by just talking about birds. Specifically, they look at two papers that use the evolutionary history of birds to explore if geographic changes or ecological adaptation controlled the macroevolutionary history of birds. Meanwhile, Amanda has some technical difficulties, James becomes Legion "Destroyer of Minds", and Curt is a dick to his friends. <Editor's Note: If you want to jump to the science, the discussion actually begins at 13 mins 10 secs>

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends look at two papers that both talk about animals that do not have hair or hard skin but rather have big pointed things on their face and can fly. The first paper looks at animals that do not have hair or hard skin but have big pointed things on their face and can fly and wants to see if these animals changed over time in and if they also changed the place they are from while changing over time. They say that most of the flying animals with no hair or hard skin but big pointed things on their face lived further down on the world until all the big angry animals with no hair that would eat them died and went away. Once all of those big angry animals were gone, the flying animals with no hair or hard skin but big pointed things on their face started moving all over the world and now live all over. They also say that they moved in a way that is easy to see and that it goes with whether it is warm or cold or wet or dry. The second paper also looks at these flying animals with no hair or hard skin but big pointed things on their face, and it talks about the "big change over time" idea. They use the big pointed thing on the animals face to tell this story. They say that the small groups of these animals changed over time in a different way than the big groups of these animals. They say that this means that the "big change over time" idea is right and that is what is going on to these flying animals with no hair or hard skin but with big pointed things on their face.

 

References:

 Cooney, Christopher R., et al. "Mega-evolutionary dynamics of the adaptive radiation of birds." Nature 542.7641 (2017): 344-347. 

 Claramunt, Santiago, and Joel Cracraft. "A new time tree reveals Earth history’s imprint on the evolution of modern birds." Science Advances 1.11 (2015): e1501005. 

Direct download: Podcast_127_-_Lets_Just_Talk_About_Birds.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates the end of the year by taking another break to play Fiasco, a crime/noir storytelling game by Bully Pit Games.

A lone figure stands on the rooftops, staring down at the quiet night streets of Minneapolis below. For a moment, the hero stands tall, silhouetted against the night sky, looking like a gargoyle protecting the city, his city, from the crime that seeks to destroy it. A slight twinge of discomfort from a stiff back causes his shoulders to shrug, and he mutters to himself, "Eh, not worth it." He immediately steps off his perch on the roof's edge and lies down next an extra large meat-lovers pizza. As he ravenously devours nearly the entire pie, the low drone of the city below gradually becomes replaced by the sounds of a struggle; a woman's scream, the shuffling of footfalls, the low dull impact of a baseball bat to flesh. None of which deters the strange vigilante's steady consumption of pizza.

The sound of a familiar yell catches the lone "hero's" attention, "A little help down here?!?!?" He sits up, slowly puts a half eaten slice of pizza down, and loudly sighs. "Fine..." and he casually jumps off the four story building.

"The People of Minneapolis VS The Alchemist" is a story of super heroes, deception, betrayal, existentialism, and hipster heroics in the justice system. 

"Undaunted" and "Black Vortex" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Direct download: Podcast_126_-_The_People_of_Minneapolis_VS_The_Alchemist.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that investigate the impact that the geographic occupation of a species has on its evolution, both in the distant past and in modern systems. Also, James pops some pills, Amanda takes a deep dive into Deviant Art, and Curt acts as a passive enabler.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

This week our friends talk about how many animals there are in the whole world. They also talk about where animals live all over the world. The first paper does a good job talking about both where animals live and how many animals there are. It talks about many, many times when there were lots of new kinds of animals showing up, and also times when there were not many animals showing up. They also talk about times when it looks like many animals died but maybe they didn't. There are different ways to talk about how many animals there are in the whole world. Whether there are all kinds of different animals but they are the same all over, whether there are all kinds of different animals and they are all different all over, and whether there are some animals that are only found only in little places. The other paper talks about how when new kinds of animals show up that it is important to look at where the new animals are from, and whether they can talk to other animals that are like their brothers and sisters. If they can talk to other animals that are like their brothers and sisters, then they are not new kinds of animals. But if they can't talk to the animals that are like their brothers and sisters, then they are a new kind of animal. This paper thought that maybe it would be a kind of important piece of the animal that would make it new and not able to talk to its brother and sister animals. But it turns out that where the animal is from is very important, and it seems like if the animal lives far away and can't talk to its brother and sister animals for even a short time, it will become a new kind of animal. So we know that where animals are from is important, and if where they are from means they can't talk to brother and sister animals, that is really big for making new kinds of animals.

 

References:

 Worsham, McLean LD, et al. "Geographic isolation facilitates the evolution of reproductive isolation and morphological divergence." Ecology and Evolution

 Stigall, Alycia L., et al. "Biotic immigration events, speciation, and the accumulation of biodiversity in the fossil record." Global and Planetary Change 148 (2017): 242-257. 

Direct download: Podcast_125_-_Feeling_Isolated_Biogeography_and_Evolution.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that complicate our understanding of some important fossils. Specifically, we focus on abiotic "stromatolites" and cryptic tool marks on bones. Also, Curt comes up with a book title, James discusses his workout regiment, and Amanda gets very excited about all things Michigan. 

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

The friends talk about things that look like something but are actually maybe something else. First, they look at things that layer on top of each other. These things that layer on top of each other were found in rocks from a long long time ago and were thought to be made from living things that eat light. However, we can also make these things that layer on top of each other with a paint can. This means that we need to watch out when we find these things that layer on top of each other a long long time ago because they may not always be made by these living things that eat light.

Second, the friends look at marks on the hard parts in animals that hold them up. Some people thought the marks on the hard parts in animals that hold them up were made by people cutting those animals to pieces. However, other people say the marks on the hard parts in animals that hold them up could be made by animals with long noses who lie in water and you should never smile at. These animals that you should never smile at who jump out of the water can cut marks on the hard parts of animals that look very very much the same as the ones that come from people cutting animals to pieces. This means we need to watch out when seeing these marks because they may or may not show that people were there.

 

References:

Sahle, Yonatan, Sireen El Zaatari, and Tim D. White. "Hominid butchers and biting crocodiles in the African Plio–Pleistocene." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017): 201716317. 

 McLoughlin, N., L. A. Wilson, and M. D. Brasier. "Growth of synthetic stromatolites and wrinkle structures in the absence of microbes–implications for the early fossil record." Geobiology 6.2 (2008): 95-105. 

 

Direct download: Podcast_124_-_A_Second_Opinion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers with differing opinions about whether or not extinction events in the fossil record follow a periodic pattern. Also, James is dealing with very reputable people, Curt forces people to talk about things they don't care about, and Amanda becomes VERY interested in energy conservation.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition): 

This week the group looks at two papers seeing if really bad times when lots of things died happen on a time table or if really bad times when lots of things died do not run on time and came come any time they want. The first paper says the death train does not run on time and that we do note see a time table that it sticks to. They state that past papers that have tried to see the when the death train comes have made time tables out of chance visits and that we can not use these time tables because we may be waiting for the death train a long time and then find that two death trains show up at once. The other papers in the past said that this time table is caused by the stars and that things coming from space are making the death train run on time. The new paper says that this is not true because there is no time table and the stars can't control a time table that is not there.

The second paper responds to the first paper and says that the time table is there and the way the first paper checked the time table was too mean. The second paper points out that the death train can be early or late and still be running on a time table. They look at the same numbers as the first paper and say that the death train is just early or late quite a bit but still runs on its time table.

 

References: 

Erlykin, Anatoly D., et al. "Mass extinctions over the last 500 myr: an astronomical cause?." Palaeontology 60.2 (2017): 159-167.

Melott, Adrian L., and Richard K. Bambach. "Comments on: Periodicity in the extinction rate and possible astronomical causes–comment on mass extinctions over the last 500 myr: an astronomical cause?(Erlykin et al.)." Palaeontology 60.6 (2017): 911-920.

Direct download: Podcast_123_-_Periodicity_of_Extinction.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

James and Curt are joined by friends of the show Brendan and Carlie to discuss the talks presented at the Geological Society of American annual meeting in Seattle, WA. Day 2 starts at 1:12:43. Day 3 starts at 3:05:06. Day 4 starts at 3:59:34. Videos of each day are available on youtube under the channel Palaeo After Dark

 

Additional music: "Puzzle Pieces 2 (I Don't Believe in Ghosts)" by The Mixtapes and distributed by Paper + Plastic:

http://paperplastick.limitedrun.com/products/551888-mixtapes-these-are-us

Direct download: Podcast_122_-_GSA_2017_We_Have_a_Fridge.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that use fossil evidence to determine the past ecology and niche-space of past organisms, specifically dodos and hyenas. How can we use information from bones to interpret diet, life cycle, and behaviors of long dead animals? Also, James decides to start Skynet on the grounds that they will let him become a weather controlling tiger-bot, while Amanda and Curt draw hard lines in the sand about Don Bluth cartoons. 

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group looks at two papers that are interested in seeing how things lived. The first is cutting into the inside hard parts of animals with that should fly but could not fly and are in the same family as animals that can fly and live with people in cities. These animals died when people came to their rock in the big water that you can not drink with lots of bad friends. The people that came to the home of these animals did not care about them much, and so the words we have from them are not very good and often do not agree. The study looks at the hard parts and the words of the people to see how these animals lived. They show that the animals grew quickly and changed their clothes a lot over the year which is why different people thought they looked different, and that they laid their round baby boxes during the part of the year when there was not bad sky stuff.

The next study looks at the teeth of cats that want to be dogs that are today only found in the big place where the rains are down but in the past were found in many places that people lived. They want to see if these cats that want to be dogs eat the same thing at different points in time. They show that the cats that want to be dogs eat different things today than they used to, and that maybe this is because there are very big cats that are definitely cats in the big place where the rains are down that stop them getting other food.

 

References:

 DeSantis, Larisa RG, et al. "Assessing niche conservatism using a multiproxy approach: dietary ecology of extinct and extant spotted hyenas." Paleobiology 43.2 (2017): 286-303. 

 Angst, D., et al. "Bone histology sheds new light on the ecology of the dodo (Raphus cucullatus, Aves, Columbiformes)." Scientific Reports 7 (2017). 

Direct download: Podcast_121_-_Reconstructing_the_Niche.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that deal with different examples of convergence. The first discusses how brood parasite female cuckoos mimic birds of prey, and the second paper discusses convergent morphological evolution in early tetrapodomorph fishes. What do these two papers have in common. you may ask? Both discussions have Amanda cheerfully yelling the word "Convergence!"

Meanwhile, Amanda narrowly avoids drunk Amazon shopping, James demands truth in advertising, Curt doesn't believe that these papers are remotely related in any way, and everybody gets very easily distracted by the prospect of fire-belching furnaces and knife-wielding murderbots. <EDITOR'S NOTE: The group start talking about science about 10 minutes in>

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition): 

The group looks at two papers where the same things keep happening to many different animals. The first paper looks at an animal that can fly and is a bad mom that leaves the kids with some other flying mom so she does not have to raise them. This flying bad mom can pretend to be something else and kind of looks like something else that is big and angry. When the flying bad mom drops the kids at the home of the other flying mom, she pretends to be a very big and angry flying thing by screaming as she leaves the home of the other flying mom. People showed that the sound of the bad mom screaming sounds just like the big angry thing she is pretending to be, which makes the other flying moms scared so they do not know that the kids have been left at their home. The kids then eat the other flying moms out of house and home.

The other paper looks at animals that are in the water but could sometimes come out on the land from a long time ago. As time went on, more of these animals spent more time out on land than on the water, and they also changed how they looked. This made us think that the things spending more time on land changed in ways for them to spend more time on the land. But this new animal shows that those changes happened in things that didn't spend as much time on land, so maybe the changes aren't just because things were on the land so much.

 

References:

York, J. E., & Davies, N. B. (2017). Female cuckoo calls misdirect host defences towards the wrong enemy. Nature https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0279-3

Zhu, Min, et al. "A Devonian tetrapod-like fish reveals substantial parallelism in stem tetrapod evolution." Nature Ecology & Evolution (2017): 1.

Direct download: Podcast_120_-_Something_Something_Convergence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT