Palaeo After Dark (general)

The gang discusses two papers that look at what past sharks might have eaten. The first paper uses nitrogen isotopes to determine the trophic level of species belonging to the extinct shark genus Otodus, and the second paper shows evidence of predation/scavenging of sperm whales by sharks in the late Miocene. Meanwhile, James has a couch to burn, Curt proposes an experiment to find the best animal, Amanda becomes shark Nietzsche.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends look at two papers that look at what big angry animals with big teeth who breathe water and lived in the past could have eaten. The first paper looks at the parts of these animals from the past and uses what those parts of made of to try and see what kind of things they might have eaten. This is the first time that this has been done using these parts of the animal, since most of these kinds of papers look at living animals and so they can get parts that do not last when the animals die. It had been said that these big angry animals in the past may have eaten big animals that eat small things, and that they might have died out when there was less big animals that eat small things. This paper finds that the parts that make up these animals show that maybe these animals were eating things that ate other bigger things, that these big animals were probably not just eating this one type of animal but may have gone for anything, as well as other animals that also eat pretty much everything. One animal that they mention these big angry animals that breathe water could have eaten is a big animal with warm blood and big teeth that lives in water.

The second paper looks at how the hard parts of big animals with warm blood and big teeth that live in water at this time have hurt marks on their hard parts that look like they were from the teeth of big angry animals that breathe water. These hurt marks are along a part of the head that has a lot of stuff in it which animals would like to eat. The hurt marks are all different, with some that look like the animal bit them right on the head, and others look like marks from teeth that were biting at the body when it was already dead. It seems like many different types of angry animals with big teeth who breathe water may have been eating these animals with warm blood and big teeth.

 

References:

Kast, Emma R., et al. "Cenozoic megatooth sharks occupied extremely high trophic positions." Science Advances 8.25 (2022): eabl6529.

Benites-Palomino, Aldo, et al. "Sperm  whales (Physeteroidea) from the Pisco Formation, Peru, and their trophic  role as fat sources for late Miocene sharks." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289.1977 (2022): 20220774

Direct download: Podcast_241_-_The_Shark_and_the_Whale.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the impact of the end Cretaceous mass extinction. The first paper looks at ecomorphospace changes in mosasaur communities prior to the extinction event, and the second paper discusses the importance of a large freshwater gar which lived through the recovery. Meanwhile, James has some new and interesting ecological theories, Curt is simpatico with his recording equipment, and Amanda acts as our resident “fish” expert.
 
Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):
Our friends talk about two papers that look at a time when a big rock hit us a long long time ago. The first paper looks at how big angry animals in the water that you can not drink did before the big rock hit. There is a big question about if these big angry animals that live in water you can not drink were doing well before the big rock hit, or if they were already on their way out. This paper looks at how the heads of these animals changed over space and time by looking at a large number of these from lots of different places. What they find is that there is a lot going on before the big rock hit. Some places are having their big animals look like they are having real problems, but in other places there seems to be a lot of new change in these big animals. It seems that this time before the big rock was a time when these big animals were going through a lot of changes. The big rock may have hit at a very bad time because things were not calm because of all of these changing going on.
The second paper looks at animals living in water you can drink after the big rock hit. This paper finds a very large animal that breathes water head. Since this is a group of animals that are still around today, they can use the head to figure out how big the animal would have been, and they find that it would have been pretty big and also would have eaten other animals. This animal lived pretty soon after the big rock hit. This might mean that animals living on land and in the water that you can drink may have been doing a lot better than things living in the water you can not drink. If an animal was able to get that big eating other animals, it seems that these places were doing well. One of the ways animals respond when things get bad and foot is short is that they get smaller. Since we do not see that happening in this place, it could mean that places like this were not hit that bad when the rock hit.
 
References:
MacLaren, Jamie A., et al. "Global ecomorphological restructuring of dominant marine reptiles prior to the Cretaceous–Palaeogene mass extinction." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289.1975 (2022): 20220585.
Brownstein, Chase Doran, and Tyler R. Lyson. "Giant gar from directly above the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary suggests healthy freshwater ecosystems existed within thousands of years of the asteroid impact." Biology Letters 18.6 (2022): 20220118.
Direct download: Podcast_240_-_Chibi_Gar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at how combining fossil and modern data can affect our understanding of evolution. The first paper looks at studying primate biogeography, and the second paper studies how human interactions have affected dog morphology and disparity. Meanwhile, James finds a song he likes, Amanda could use some skin, and Curt appreciates how timely we’ve always been.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends look at two papers that show how using stuff from today and stuff from the past together can give you a better idea of what is going on with living things. The first paper looks at how we study where animals who look a lot like us lived in the past and how they came to live where they live today. The paper looks at how we can use old animals along with the animals around today to get a better idea of how the animals today got to where they are. That said, they do find that you need to take some care with the old animals you put in the study. You want to make sure that you really know what these old animals actually are. If not, it can make your study give weird answers. But, in the end, they show that it is better to use both old and today animals when you can.

The second paper looks at old dogs. Dogs can look like a lot of different things today. So people wanted to know if dogs could always look like so many different things in the past. So they found old parts of dogs from old human remains that date back to before people started to really change how dogs looked. They ran a study to see how different those dogs were from each other, and from dogs we have today, and also other things that are not dogs but are close to dogs. They find that these old dogs could be very different from each other, but not as different as the dogs we see today. They were a lot different from the other dog like animals too. So it shows that dogs were able to be very different in the past, but people have made this change even bigger.

 

References:

Wisniewski, Anna L., Graeme T. Lloyd,  and Graham J. Slater. "Extant species fail to estimate ancestral  geographical ranges at older nodes in primate phylogeny." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289.1975 (2022): 20212535.

Brassard, Colline, et al. "Unexpected morphological diversity in ancient dogs compared to modern relatives." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289.1975 (2022): 20220147.

Direct download: Podcast_239_-_Up_To_Date_Memes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the co-evolution of plants and herbivores. The first paper finds the earliest evidence of a unique type of insect herbivory in the fossil record, and the second looks at the evolutionary impact of the extinction of large herbivores on palm trees. Meanwhile, Curt recovers from COVID round 2, Amanda is a static character, and James finds that getting what he wants is almost worse than not getting it at all.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about things that live in the ground and make their own food but are not able to move (like a tree and other things) and also the animals that eat these things. Some small animals eat the parts of trees that catch the sun but have this stuff that is supposed to get these small animals stuck if they try and eat these parts of the tree. The way that these small animals do this is either by cutting off the stuff that would get them stuck and then eating the rest of these parts that grab sun. We know that trees and other things like trees started to use this stuff a long time ago. This paper finds the first time that we know of in which these small animals were able to cut off the stuff that would get them stuck. They used the same ideas in the past that they use today, and it happened pretty close to when trees and other things like them started to use this stuff. This means that the trees and the small animals that eat them were changing with each other.

The second paper looks at how a type of tree that is not a real tree changed when the large animals that could have eaten it were not there. The people who wrote this paper had ideas about what changes could have happened when these not trees didn't have large animals around to eat them, but it turns out to have been a little different from what they might have thought. These not trees stopped making parts that would stop animals from eating them, but they didn't stop making big food. This might mean that big food is not just something that big animals can use, and that maybe small animals were eating the food and that would help the not tree to move its babies around.

 

References:

Onstein, Renske E., W. Daniel  Kissling, and H. Peter Linder. "The megaherbivore gap after the  non-avian dinosaur extinctions modified trait evolution and  diversification of tropical palms." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289.1972 (2022): 20212633.

McCoy, Victoria E., et al. "Oldest fossil evidence of latex sabotaging behavior by herbivorous insects." Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 300 (2022): 104631.

Direct download: Podcast_238_-_Plants_With_Strong_Goku_Energy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers which use morphology to infer behavior in the fossil record. The first paper looks at the origins of the “killer whale” type morphology in fossil cetaceans, and the second paper describes the earliest example of a diurnal owl in the fossil record. Meanwhile, James proposes an unconventional workforce, Curt imagines the sea mammal revolution, and Amanda cuts the crap… out of her basement.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at how things look and how we can use that to tell how animals might have lived in the past. The first paper looks at a group of animals with hair that breathe air but live their whole lives in water and do not have legs. There are lots of different types of these animals but one of these animals is named after being someone that kills. However, there is another group of these animals that look a lot like these animals that are named after killing but are not the same. This paper finds a really old one of these animals that looks like but is not one of these killing animals. These animals have things that make them eat in different ways than most of the animals with hair that live in water. This older animal may be the first time that these animals with hair who live in water were eating in this way. It also shows that this type of body that looks like these animals that are named for killing really did appear many times within the group.

The second paper looks at animals who fly that are usually out at night and kill very quietly. They find a very old one of these animals that is very complete and allows them to see lots of parts of the animal we usually do not get. These parts show that this animal may have actually been moving around during the day instead of at night, like most of the other animals in this group. They show that moving around in the day is something that a few of these animals today do and that it has appeared many times in the past. This animal might be the oldest one of these animals that lived in the day, and shows that, even though most of these animals today are out at night, the group has a lot more going on with whether or not these animals were out in the day or at night.

 

References:

Li, Zhiheng, et al. "Early evolution  of diurnal habits in owls (Aves, Strigiformes) documented by a new and  exquisitely preserved Miocene owl fossil from China." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119.15 (2022): e2119217119.

Bianucci, Giovanni, et al. "The origins of the killer whale ecomorph." Current Biology (2022).

Direct download: Podcast_237_-_Day_Walkers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that show examples of exceptional preservation. The first paper looks at melanosome patterns in pterosaur barbules, and the second paper looks at a pathway for exceptional preservation in fossil spiders. Meanwhile, Curt (and his audio apparently) recover from COVID, James shares a story about renting, and Amanda tries to pronounce French.
 
Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):
Our friends talk about two papers that look at animal parts that have held up really well for a long time. The first paper looks at soft things on the skin of angry flying animals that are not the same as flying animals that often can make happy sounds but are old brothers and sisters. The soft things on the skin of this animal have small things that make the soft things either light or dark. These small things look different from the other small things on the skin. We find this in big angry animals which are more close to the flying animals that make happy sounds. This might mean that the way these small things are put together on the animal might have appeared a lot more in the past than we thought.
The second paper looks at small things with many legs that are usually really hard to find in rocks. However, we start seeing a lot more of them at a point. The ones that we do find look weird, and so this paper looked into how these small things that usually don't hold up in rocks managed to stay together in the rocks. They find that these small things with many legs fell into water that had a lot of other even smaller things made up of one part. These really small animals push out stuff that makes it easier for these really small animals to live there. This stuff changed the bodies of the small animals with many legs into something that wouldn't break down so easily. This is the first time this has been found in rocks, and it might be something that has happened more often than we know.
 
References:
Olcott, Alison N., et al. "The exceptional preservation of Aix-en-Provence spider fossils could have been facilitated by diatoms." Communications Earth & Environment 3.1 (2022): 1-10.
Cincotta, Aude, et al. "Pterosaur melanosomes support signalling functions for early feathers." Nature (2022): 1-5.
Direct download: Podcast_236_-_Paint_By_Melanosome.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the function of the ceratopsian frill. One paper looks at forensic evidence to understand the cause of an injury, and the other paper looks for clues to the adaptive origins of the Protoceratops frill. Meanwhile, Curt ruins the Muppets, James counts our cancellations, and Amanda is being silenced… by Discord.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To head off any discussions about food science crimes committed by this podcast, we have been made aware by reviewers of an early draft of this podcast (i.e. patreon members) that a discussion on rice may have implied that glutinous rice had “gluten” in it. This is completely incorrect. Glutinous rice is just named that way because it is sticky. As an eater of many types of glutinous rice who is married to a registered dietician, your humble editor was deeply ashamed that such horrible misinformation had made it into a draft of this podcast. The ethical decision would be to remove this discussion to prevent the spread of misinformation. However, that would take work... so instead he decided not to bother. What is the context of the conversation? When in the podcast does this conversation happen? Who implied this food crime? Did this conversation actually happen at all or is the person on the patreon just pulling the editor’s leg? All of these questions would require just a modest amount of work to investigate and so they will remain forever unanswered. Was this important enough to warrant such a long note? Probably not, but your humble editor is recovering from COVID and so is filling the boredom by extending this rather minor correction into an overblown bit. If you would like to see early drafts of this podcast, go to www.patreon.com/palaeoafterdark.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about a group of big angry animals that everyone likes with a fun thing on their heads. Both of these papers look at different types of these animals but at the end of the day, the papers are all trying to figure out how these animals used that fun thing on their heads. The first paper looks at an animal that had a small part missing in the fun thing on its head. The paper tries to find out why this animals is missing this small part. Some people have said that the small parts could go away when the animal gets bigger, but we have already shown in another one of these shows that this does not happen. So it seems that instead this animal probably got hurt. It seems that the animal was hit with something long from the back. This is different from a lot of the ways people have said this animal would usually get hurt with the fun thing on its head.

The second paper looks at another animal from this group that is far older and tries to see if they can figure out what the animals could have used their fun things on their head. They have an idea that it could be used to get other animals to love them. In order to see if that is the case, they come up with other things they should see if this was true. They look at a lot of these animals and find that some of these things are true but other things are not. So it seems that they really could have used these fun things on their head for finding love, but they also say that it might be for other things. The point is, it seems like a pretty good case could be made that they used it for love.

 

References:

Knapp, A., R. J. Knell, and D. W. E.  Hone. "Three-dimensional geometric morphometric analysis of the skull of  Protoceratops andrewsi supports a socio-sexual signalling role for the  ceratopsian frill." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288.1944 (2021): 20202938.

D’Anastasio, Ruggero, et al. "Histological and chemical diagnosis of a combat lesion in Triceratops." Scientific reports 12.1 (2022): 1-8.

Direct download: Podcast_235_-_Not_Easy_Being_Ceratopsian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers which discuss the fascinating information which can be gleaned from studying fossil trackways, particularly the taphonomy of fossil trackways. The first paper looks at how enigmatic elongate tracks may have formed, and the second paper uses tracks to infer paleo topology. Meanwhile, James is a latchkey kid, Amanda opens up the wrong folder, and Curt would like you to know that the joke is over now.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends look at two papers that talk about foot marks. The first paper is looking at how the foot marks might get long. The ones made by big angry animals with big teeth and no hair are not supposed to be long in the back, but sometimes they are. This paper asks why they are. These big angry animals with big teeth and no hair usually walk on only the very front of their feet. Sometimes papers say it's because the whole foot is put on the ground. But this paper says that it is not because of that but instead that the whole foot goes deep into the ground. This makes the foot mark look very much longer than it should be.

The second paper looks at how some big angry animals with big teeth and no hair walked along a place where the ground was not together and not straight. These animals were walking up and down along this not-straight ground. The tracks they left were not good but they can tell us how things did stuff and walked around and moved on the ground. It just shows that even bad tracks can tell us lots of good things.

 

References:

Xing, Lida, et al. "Unusual dinosaur  trackway preservation as clues to paleo-landscape and behavior from the  Lower Cretaceous Luohe Formation, Shaanxi Province, China." Geoscience Frontiers 12.2 (2021): 737-745.

Lallensack, Jens N., James O. Farlow,  and Peter L. Falkingham. "A new solution to an old riddle: elongate  dinosaur tracks explained as deep penetration of the foot, not  plantigrade locomotion." Palaeontology 65.1 (2022): e12584.

Direct download: Podcast_234_-_Cool_Trackway_Bro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two sets of papers about how we study crocodylomorphs, with each of these topics being replies to previous studies. The first paper looks at the importance of total evidence approaches in determining the evolutionary placement of fossil pseudosuchians, and the second set of papers discusses the potential biases and issues associated with how we handle body size data in evolutionary studies. Meanwhile, Curt goes Camus, Amanda has some bizarre funeral plans, and James continues to have opinions about pies.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends look at a lot of papers that were written to reply to another paper. All of these papers look at how we study big angry animals that spend a lot of time in water and jump out to eat things. This group of animals has been around for a long time and before today they used to do a lot of different things, even though now most of them spend a lot of time in water and jump out to eat things. These papers look at the older groups of these animals. The first paper looks at how we try and understand how these older groups go together. It shows that if you only look at how these things look, there are a lot of different ways these groups could go together. They say that things get better if we use both how they look and the changes in the small stuff that helps build up all life. This is important, because how these old groups go together will change how and when we think the groups of big angry animals we see today first came to be.

The second group of papers looks at how big these angry animals were in the past. One of these papers looked at how big these animals got over time, but the reply shows that there are some problems with how that was done. If you just take how big these animals are without doing anything to those numbers, it means that something that is big getting slightly bigger is going to seem like more than something small getting bigger about the same. It is because the bigger thing starts with bigger numbers. You can fix this by doing some things to the numbers to make sure that you can better look at changes in both small and big animals. When you do that, it does change the story of the paper.

 

References:

Darlim, Gustavo, et al. "The impact of  molecular data on the phylogenetic position of the putative oldest  crown crocodilian and the age of the clade." Biology Letters 18.2 (2022): 20210603.

Stockdale, Maximilian T., and Michael J. Benton. "Environmental drivers of body size evolution in crocodile-line archosaurs." Communications biology 4.1 (2021): 1-11.

Benson, Roger BJ, et al.  "Reconstructed evolutionary patterns for crocodile-line archosaurs  demonstrate impact of failure to log-transform body size data." Communications Biology 5.1 (2022): 1-4.

Stockdale, Maximilian T., and Michael  J. Benton. "Reply to:‘Reconstructed evolutionary patterns from  crocodile-line archosaurs demonstrate the impact of failure to  log-transform body size data’." Communications biology 5.1 (2022): 1-4.

Direct download: Podcast_233_-_Croc_Reply_Guys.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two taxonomy papers about dinosaurs, fulfilling their contractual obligation to produce one dinosaur-centric podcast every 8 to 10 years. The first paper finds strong evidence to support the validity of Torosaurus as a genus separate from Triceratops and is quite cool. The second paper is that awful T-rex paper from about a month ago. Meanwhile, Curt remembers too much, Amanda enjoys self-righteous fury, James goes too far, and we all get way too drunk and rambley for our own good. CONTENT WARNING: This episode gets very salty and pushes past our usual frequency of just a few expletives per podcast. You have been warned.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at big angry animals with no hair from the past. The first paper looks at a type of big angry animal that had a big thing coming out of the back of its head. There are a lot of these types of animals, but there are two of these types that have been a problem for some time. Some people think that these two types are two different things. However, some other people think that there is just one type and we are seeing the same animal get old and calling that old animal a new type that isn't real. This paper looks at some new parts from this other type that some people think is just one type that is old. They find that the parts show the animal was not old by looking at how the hard parts grow. This means that the two types have to be different and not the same. They also talk about the other parts of the animal that do not make sense if these two types are the same. So they show that we should instead see these as two different types of angry animals with a big thing coming out of the back of their heads.

The second paper is bad and no one should read it.

 

References:

Paul, Gregory S., W. Scott Persons,  and Jay Van Raalte. "The Tyrant Lizard King, Queen and Emperor: Multiple  Lines of Morphological and Stratigraphic Evidence Support Subtle  Evolution and Probable Speciation Within the North American Genus  Tyrannosaurus." Evolutionary Biology (2022): 1-24.

Mallon, Jordan C., et al. "The record of Torosaurus (Ornithischia: Ceratopsidae) in Canada and its taxonomic implications." Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (2022).

Direct download: Podcast_232_-_Obligatory_Dinosaur_Podcast_2_Dino_Harder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang celebrates their 9th podcast birthday with a discussion on evolutionary rates. The first paper looks at how rates of body size evolution vary across lepidosaur lineages, and the second paper looks at how biotic and abiotic factors control freshwater gastropod diversification. Meanwhile, James finds a murder basement, Amanda has a unique diet, and Curt remembers.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at how and why animals change over time, and how those changes can be fast or slow and what makes those changes fast or slow. The first paper looks at how a group of animals with four legs who are cold and looks to see if the way they get big or small changes over time. Some groups of these animals have a lot of change in how big they are really early on, but there is another group that does really well that has a very slow change in how big they get over time. There is one point where this is not the case, and that is when a group of these animals that usually get big slowly moves into the water. These animals in the water get big very quickly.

The second paper looks at animals who make a home for themselves out of hard stuff and live in water you can drink and how the world around them and also the other animals can change how many new animals appear over time. The paper finds that lots of things control how many new animals appear, but some things that are always important are the number of other animals of this type and also how different the ground is. This paper even looks at how water can move over the ground in the past to figure out how the places where these animals would live change over time.

 

References:

Neubauer, Thomas A., et al. "Drivers of diversification in freshwater gastropods vary over deep time." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289.1968 (2022): 20212057.

Herrera‐Flores, Jorge A., et al. "Slow and fast evolutionary rates in the history of lepidosaurs." Palaeontology (2021).

Direct download: Podcast_231_-_Disappointing_Birthday.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at topics in biogeography. The first paper reviews the concepts of cradles and museums (and whether we should retire those concepts), and the second paper explores traditionally defined Devonian bioregions. Also, the gang uses the broad topics from both of these papers to talk about a lot of tangentially related topics. Meanwhile, James has strong opinions about what is edible, Curt disagrees, and Amanda remains painfully neutral throughout.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at the ways we talk about the places animals come from. The first paper is looking at two words that we use to talk about these places. The words are used to talk about places where new living things come from and places where living things can stick around for a long time. The paper talks about how those words were first used and why they came up in the first place, and then talks about how we have changed what we mean by those words in ways that maybe is not helping us better know about places. They talk a lot about how the way these words were first used has now been forgotten, and so the way we use them today makes things a little too simple. Instead of focusing on finding the simple form of these places, we should be looking at the ways the world works which can make some areas better for new living things to form or for old living things to stick around.

The second paper looks at whether or not animals that are close to each other come from the same places through time. Are there places that have their own types of animals which all come from just those places for a really long time. They look at the whole world a long time ago when people have said that they can find these groups of animals that all come from one place. They look at a lot of other studies and use those studies to run another study. They find that some of the smaller areas may show what people have said in the past, but most of the big areas do not have this long time where all the animals are from this one place. The reason why it may have looked like that in the past may be because of how we got those old animals and the types of people who were allowed to go out and get those old animals in the past.

 

References:

Vasconcelos, Thais, Brian C. O’Meara, and Jeremy M. Beaulieu. "Retiring “cradles” and “museums” of biodiversity." The American Naturalist 199.2 (2022): 194-205.

Dowding, Elizabeth M., Malte C. Ebach,  and Evgeny V. Madroviev. "Validating marine Devonian biogeography: a  study in bioregionalization." Palaeontology (2021).

Direct download: Podcast_230_-_A_Rambling_Time.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that explore the functional morphology of ancient groups. The first paper looks at soft tissue in ammonites which can be used to infer locomotion, and the second paper looks at how functional morphology changed as tetrapods transitioned from marine to terrestrial environments. Meanwhile, James explores the evolution of baked goods, Curt develops a new business plan, and Amanda dreams of Tiktaalik.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look into how we can learn how very old animals moved and how that moving changes over time by looking at the parts we can find in the ground. The first paper looks at animals with a lot of arms who live in a big hard round hard part. Today, while we have a lot of these animals with lots of arms, only one of those animals today lives in a big round thing. In the past, there was a big group of animals that lived in a round thing, but they did it in a different way than the one we have around today. However, because it is hard to find pieces that are not hard, we have used the animal that is around today as our best guess for how these old animals may have moved. This paper finds some soft pieces which give us a better idea of how the soft parts that allow animals to move were put together. And these old animals probably moved in a very different way from the other animal from today who lives in a round thing. In fact, the old animals that live in round parts may have moved in a way that is sort of like how the animals with many arms who do not live in round things today move (but not exactly the same).

The second paper looks at how the hard parts of animals with four legs changed when they animals moved onto land. This paper looks at these changes and also looks at how these changes make it so these animals move in different ways. They find that the animals with four legs in the water all have legs that look like we would expect for moving in water. The animals that are on land also have legs that fit the moving we would see for things that need to hold themselves up and move on land. The fun thing is that the animals who come from the animals who are not quite on land and not quite in water yet (the ones in the middle of this change) do not fit into any space where we would expect the animal to be able to move well. This could mean that these animals (which did well enough) were living in a time when it was alright to suck at moving. Also, it may be that some groups of animals that moved onto land from this group that sucks at moving might have had some of the animals in that group that came back to this sucking at moving space.

 

References:

Dickson, Blake V., et al. "Functional adaptive landscapes predict terrestrial capacity at the origin of limbs." Nature 589.7841 (2021): 242-245.

Cherns, Lesley, et al. "Correlative  tomography of an exceptionally preserved Jurassic ammonite implies  hyponome-propelled swimming." Geology (2021).

Direct download: Podcast_229_-_Non-Fishable_Tetrapods.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at unique morphological features of fossil animals. The first paper looks at a new Ankylosauria species that complicates our understanding of the group’s evolution, and the second paper investigates the structure of the trilobite schizochoral eye. Meanwhile, James endures formatting, Amanda starts her new religion, and Curt finds the puns no one else sees.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers where we can see cool parts of animals that are very old and tell us something about how these animals lived in the past. The first paper is looking at a big angry animal with no hair who lived a long time ago and is part of a group that has a long part coming off its bottom with a hurt causing part at the end. There are two close groups of big angry animals that have this long part with a hurt causing part at the end. One group has a lot of points and the other group has a part that is hard. This animal makes it more interesting because it has parts that look like animals with the hard end and animals that have the point end. The animal is still a part of the group with the hard end, but it shows that some of the things we see with the animals with the point end were also found in some animals with the hard end.

The second paper looks at the eyes of an old group of animals who lived in the water and had their hard parts on the outside as well as legs and bodies that are broken into parts. A lot of work had been done on the eyes of some of these animals that have strange eyes where there are less round bits where the eyes can see through than in others, but the round bits are larger. This paper finds some old work and also adds to that work to say that maybe these eyes with large but less round bits might have acted like a whole lot of eyes under each of these round bits. So while most eyes for this group have tiny round bits which act as tiny eyes, this group with the large round bits might have had tiny eye parts under each of the large round bits. These large round bits may have acted as many tiny eyes.

 

References:

Soto-Acuña, Sergio, et al. "Bizarre tail weaponry in a transitional ankylosaur from subantarctic Chile." Nature 600.7888 (2021): 259-263.

Schoenemann, B., et al. "A 390 million-year-old hyper-compound eye in Devonian phacopid trilobites." Scientific reports 11.1 (2021): 1-10.

Direct download: Podcast_228_-_Clubbed_in_the_Eye.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.

 

What was that you were saying? Oh, no, I am sorry, sir; I do not accept returns. All sales are final!

Well it seems you must not have been using the sacred artifact properly, then! All of my wares are completely authentic. I can assure you of that!

Look, I simply do not have any time to argue with you about this. I am a very busy man and I need to organize a trip north to secure more sacred objects! In fact, I have already arranged my trip. I am leaving Florence tonight…

Oh, fine, I suppose I can help you out. I do happen to have a small sliver of wood from the true cross. I guess I could part with it… for a small price.

 

“The Priest and the Peddler” is a story of secrets, faith, mistaken identity, and the elusive search for redemption.

 

Grand Dark Waltz Allegretto by Kevin MacLeod

Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/7920-grand-dark-waltz-allegretto

License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Direct download: Podcast_227c_-_The_Priest_and_the_Peddler.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.

 

Have you heard about Father Valentine? Strange things happening in that church, I heard. Did you know he recently hired a mercenary? For what? An armed guard? I heard from a friend, who heard from a friend, that the father has some secret plans he doesn’t want us to know about. Anyways, I have a lovely item for sale today that I think would be perfect for you; a finger bone from St. Raphael himself. Keep it close and that cough is sure to go away! Oh of course it will work! Would I lie?

 

“The Priest and the Peddler” is a story of secrets, faith, mistaken identity, and the elusive search for redemption.

 

Grand Dark Waltz Allegretto by Kevin MacLeod

Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/7920-grand-dark-waltz-allegretto

License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Direct download: Podcast_227b_-_The_Priest_and_the_Peddler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

It’s the end of another year, and the Palaeo After Dark team are getting together for another Fiasco. Come join us as James, Amanda, Curt, Ally, and Ants build the characters and the premise for this year’s story of mistaken identity and intrigue in de Medici era Italy.

Direct download: Podcast_227a_-_Building_the_2021_Fiasco.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:22pm EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the evolutionary history of unique teeth. The first paper looks at the history of tusks and tusk-like structures in synapsids, and the second paper looks at the shape of ancient bird teeth. Meanwhile, James gets to the point, Curt is inspired, and Amanda has a drink.

 

Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group looks at two papers that talk about teeth in different groups of animals. The first paper is interested in big teeth that keep growing and don't have a hard cover around them. While these teeth without a hard cover that don't stop growing are usually only found in animals with hair, one group that is part of the same family but much older also has teeth that seem to get big and never stop growing. However it turns out that many of them still have the hard covering, and only some of them lose it to be like the animals with hair today that have long teeth without a cover that doesn't stop growing. The other paper is looking at animals that fly and usually don't have teeth, but that are very old and so do have teeth. They look at the types of these old teeth to see whether they can tell us what these animals ate. It turns out that it is very hard to tell what these animals ate from their teeth, and it seems that other things like the type of face they have may be more important.

 

References:

Zhou, Ya-Chun, et al. "Evolution of tooth crown shape in Mesozoic birds, and its adaptive significance with respect to diet." Palaeoworld (2021).

Whitney, M. R., et al. "The evolution of the synapsid tusk: insights from dicynodont therapsid tusk histology." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288.1961 (2021): 20211670.

Direct download: Podcast_226_-_Insert_Fleetwood_Mac_Tusk_Joke_Here.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at how trace fossils can give important clues to ancient ecological interactions. The first paper identifies a unique behavior using trace fossils, and the second paper uses bite marks on bone to infer ontogenetic ecological shifts in a large caiman species. Meanwhile, Curt investigates, Amanda collects, and James fixates.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

This week our friends talk about animals that roll in wet tiny pieces of rock that are really very tiny tiny. We also talk about a very big very slow animal with hair that got bit by a very large animal with no hair but hard skin and lots of big teeth that has a very long face. The animal with hair that rolled in wet tiny very very tiny pieces of rock shows that these animals did this thing a very long time ago; it shows that these animals with hair and two fingers on each leg were in this place at this time, along with animals with stuff that wasn't hair but made of the same stuff as hair and could fly, too. The second paper looks at how we can talk about a hard part of a very big very slow animal with hair could have gotten grabbed by a small one of a very, very, very big animal with no hair but hard skin and lots of big teeth with a very long face. It tells us that these very big animals with no hair but hard skin and lots of big teeth ate different things when they were small than when they were very, very, very big.

 

References:

Abbassi, Nasrollah, et al. "Vertebrate  footprints and a mammal mud-bath trace fossil (Laspichnia) from the  Mukdadiya Formation (Late Miocene–Pliocene), Chamchamal Area, Kurdistan  Region, Northeast Iraq." Ichnos 28.1 (2021): 72-83.

Pujos, François, and Rodolfo  Salas-Gismondi. "Predation of the giant Miocene caiman Purussaurus on a  mylodontid ground sloth in the wetlands of proto-Amazonia." Biology Letters 16.8 (2020): 20200239.

Direct download: Podcast_225_-_Columbo_Meets_the_Caiman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Random computer glitches are unable to stop the gang from delivering another podcast! This week, they focus on two papers that look at the importance history for understanding trends in our modern biosphere. The first paper discusses how speciation trends are important for planning future conservation efforts, and the second paper looks at the importance of exaptive traits (characters evolved for one purpose but used for another) in the evolutionary history of sea snakes. Meanwhile, Amanda cuts deep, Curt has done this before, and James waits for his time to tell his very good joke.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about how the past is important. And this is funny because they already did this before but the big boxes with bits that will shock your hand if you touch them lost the talk they did about the past being important so they are doing it again. The first paper they look at is short. It is about how animals living in places that are high up but in warm places make new types of animals that stay at the same high up place, not higher or lower. This means new animals will more often be living the same types of places as the older animals they came from, and this means that as places change we need to make sure the types of places where these animals live can stay open.

The second paper looks at how long animals without legs moved into the water. There are many groups of animals without legs that moved into water, and this paper wants to know the types of places they were in before they moved into water and also if the things they all have that make it easier to be in water were things that appeared before they moved into water (letting them move in there) or after they moved into water (making it better to be in water). They find that most of these groups started in areas with trees before moving into water. They also find that the things which make it easier to be in water appeared in older groups well before these animals moved into water. This means that the things that made it easy to go in water appeared first, and then this made it so these animals could then move into water.

 

References:

Linck, Ethan B., et al. "Evolutionary conservatism will limit responses to climate change in the tropics." Biology Letters 17.10 (2021): 20210363.

Gearty, William, Elsie Carrillo, and  Jonathan L. Payne. "Ecological filtering and exaptation in the evolution  of marine snakes." The American Naturalist 198.4 (2021): 506-521.

Direct download: Podcast_224_-_Second_Times_the_Charm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the impact of ecological interactions on the evolutionary history of groups. The first looks at potential competitive interactions that could control rabbit body size, and the second paper uses the fossil record to investigate potential clade interactions between two groups of bryozoans. Meanwhile, Curt researches in real time, Amanda gets to talk about a childhood favorite, and James makes future plans.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at how animals trying to get food and sometimes fighting with each other can change how they live and grow and make more of themselves. The first paper looks at animals that jump and have hair and their name sounds just like hair. These things that sound like hair do not get really big in most cases, even though we know that they could get big if we try and make it happen. This paper looks for reasons why these "hairs" don't get very big. It turns out that "hairs" eat things that a lot of other animals that eat. And while there are a lot of other things in the paper here that help to build this idea, the big idea is that that how big these "hairs" get may be held back by the smallest of the other animals that eat their food. "Hairs" get about as big as the smallest of these other animals in a place.

The second paper looks at animals that grow on top of other things. There are two big groups of these animals, and when we look at how they grow, usually one group will grow over the other group. This means this one group is better at growing in a space and can push out the other group. In the past we used to have more of the group that gets pushed out, but over time we have more of the new group that is better at growing in a place. Some have thought maybe this means that what we see happening in small places may explain this larger change over time. But it is more than just that because it is not just one group going down and another going up. This paper uses a lot of number work to see how these two group may change each other. They find that it is more than just a simple one up one down thing. They find both groups change each other in a few ways. They also don't find that the things happening in the small spaces is causing these bigger changes. It could be because of the type of things we are looking at makes it harder to see these changes, but with what they have it looks like maybe this is not what is causing this change.

 

References:

Tomiya, Susumu, and Lauren K. Miller. "Why aren't rabbits and hares larger?." Evolution 75.4 (2021): 847-860.

Lidgard, Scott, et al. "When fossil clades ‘compete’: local dominance, global diversification dynamics and causation." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288.1959 (2021): 20211632.

Direct download: Podcast_223_-_Amanda_Loves_Watership_Down.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at evolutionary changes in animal groups after the End Cretaceous Mass Extinction. The first paper looks at morphometric changes in shark teeth, and the second paper studies the evolutionary and biogeographic patterns of snakes. Meanwhile, Amanda “fixes” her audio, Curt goes biblical, and James is missing.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about things that lived through a real bad time when a huge rock hit the big round place where we all live. The first paper looks at large angry animals that move through water and have pointed things in their mouths and soft bits where things have hard bits. We usually just find the hard pointed bits from the mouth because the rest of the body falls to bits when they die. So this looks at how these old hard bits change from before and after the big rock hit. What they found was that changes happened within groups, where some groups were hit hard and others were not. But if you look at all of the big angry animals, it looks like very little changes. The hard bits are doing things that look the same before and after the rock hit, but its different groups doing that.

The second paper looks at animals with no legs and looked at changes in where they live and how quickly they change over time. The paper finds that after the big rock hit, one group was able to move to a new place. This move seems to happen when they also start making more of themselves. It seems that, for this big group of animals with no legs, the big rock hitting may have helped this group. It seems like a new place opened up after the big rock and the group took over and did well. There are also changes that we see when it gets colder in the time way after the rock hit.

 

References:

Klein, Catherine G., et al. "Evolution and dispersal of snakes across the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction." Nature Communications 12.1 (2021): 1-9.

Bazzi, Mohamad, et al. "Tooth morphology elucidates shark evolution across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction." PLoS biology 19.8 (2021): e3001108.

Direct download: Podcast_222_-_Static_Hiss.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at patterns of speciation and extinction and relate those patterns to shifts in climate. The first paper looks at how both plate tectonics and climatic changes have contributed to shifts in provinciality, and the second paper tests the link between dramatic temperature changes and large scale extinction events. Meanwhile, James cannot remember “that guy”, Curt does not like Oliver Cromwell, Amanda is in an abusive relationship with her cats, and we cannot stay on topic for more than 2 minutes.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about how the change in hot and cold and places where rocks are over a very long time has changed the way things live. Or not lived. The first paper says that while we used to think that changes in the way the big rocks that stick out of the water that we live on is the most important thing for making different animals and green stuff live in different places. But it turns out that it may be changes in hot and cold that take a very long time to happen that is more important. Both things are important, but how it gets colder the more towards the top of the world you go is just a little more important. It really controls how things can live places. The other paper looks at changes in hot and cold and how that makes things die. It turns out that if it gets warmer faster, or colder faster, it makes things die. They have a real number of 5.2 bits, and it is at more than 10 bits every 1,000,000 years. It does not matter if it gets warmer or colder, it is the quick turn that matters, and the big jump in change. They say that we are already getting hot enough fast enough right now to cause lots of things to die, even if we were not killing them, which we are.

 

References:

Kocsis, Ádám T., et al. "Increase in  marine provinciality over the last 250 million years governed more by  climate change than plate tectonics." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288.1957 (2021): 20211342.

Song, Haijun, et al. "Thresholds of temperature change for mass extinctions." Nature communications 12.1 (2021): 1-8.

Direct download: Podcast_221_-_Ramble_On.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at the fossil record of fishes. The first paper looks at the ontogeny of ancient lampreys, and the second paper investigates the impact genome duplication had on the evolutionary history of teleost fishes. Meanwhile, James finds a gnome, Curt has an adorable ghost problem, Amanda appreciates good music, and we are all back on our b#ll$h!t.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at animals that live in the water and have hard parts on the inside. The first paper looks at some of these animals which have a round mouth. These animals today are very different as kids then as grown ups. As kids they live in the ground and pull food out of the water. As grown ups they move through the water and eat other animals. This paper looks at old parts of these animals from a long time ago to see if the kids always did this. They find that these very old animals did not have kids and grown ups acting so different. This means that having the kids do something different is a thing that is new, even though people have thought that these animals have always done this.

The second paper looks at the how animals with hard parts that move through the water had the bits inside them that store how to build them get a times two. When there are more bits that store how to build them, it makes the homes in the hard parts bigger. So you can use how big these homes are in the hard parts to learn something about how many bits these animals have. Using old hard parts from old animals and a tree that shows which of the animals are close brothers and sisters to each other, they look at when changes in how big these homes in the hard parts were in the past. And since how big these homes are tells us how many bits that store how to build them they have, we can also see how these bits are changing through time. People have thought that getting more of these bits may be why there are so many of these types of animals. This paper shows that it may not be that simple. The number of bits goes up first, but the number of new animals does not go up at that time. Instead, it happens after big changes in the world. It is possible that these bits may have helped in bringing the number of these animals up, but it alone does not explain it.

 

References:

Miyashita, Tetsuto, et al. "Non-ammocoete larvae of Palaeozoic stem lampreys." Nature 591.7850 (2021): 408-412.

Davesne, Donald, et al. "Fossilized cell structures identify an ancient origin for the teleost whole-genome duplication." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118.30 (2021).

Direct download: Podcast_220_-_The_Bone_Gnome.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at examples of cohabitation and unique ecological interactions in the Cambrian. The first paper looks at multiple animals living together in a hemichordate living chamber, the and the second looks at a potential example of parasitism on brachiopods. Meanwhile, James flips a coin, Curt has to live with some consequences, and Amanda ranks things from meh to bad.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that look at animals which are living together, sometimes not because both animals want that. The first paper looks at these long animals with no legs that live together. There are two different types of these long animals living the in the same spot, which is a home that looks like the ones built by the bigger of the two long animals, but the home seems to be a bit too big. Because the small long things do not have bits that could cut off parts of the bigger long thing, they think that these two animals would have lived in the same spot and been just fine. Since the homes are bigger than either animal, it means we still have to figure out why the homes are so big. It could be that the bigger long animals could be kids and the homes were built by the grown ups for the kids to live in.

The second paper looks at these small long round thing that was found on these animals with hard parts on either side which sit on the ground in the water and pull food out of the water. The animals with hard parts could have these small long round things on them or they could not. The animals with hard parts that had these small long round things were smaller than the ones that did not. The way the small long round things were put onto the animals with hard parts makes it look like they are homes for other small animals that would take the food out of the mouth of the animals with hard parts.

 

References:

Zhang, Zhifei, et al. "An encrusting kleptoparasite-host interaction from the early Cambrian." Nature communications 11.1 (2020): 1-7.

Nanglu, Karma, and Jean-Bernard Caron.  "Symbiosis in the Cambrian: enteropneust tubes from the Burgess Shale  co-inhabited by commensal polychaetes." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288.1951 (2021): 20210061.

Direct download: Podcast_219_-_Brachiopod_Vape_Bros.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers that look at trackway fossils. The first paper uses a modern study to determine how many tracks are needed to get a reasonable estimate on the trace morphology, and the second paper looks at trackways from an early tetrapod and attempts to determine the likely trace maker. Meanwhile, James has thoughts on Luigi, Amanda gives the birds the bird, Curt regrets a burn, and everyone loves Christopher Walken’s line delivery in Ripper.

 

Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):

Today our friends talk about people walking on ground that is wet and animals with four legs that also had a long back end part. The first paper looks at how many people need to walk on ground that is wet before it is enough people to make the numbers good. It also looks at how different kinds of ground and different types of wet also change the way things look. There actually does not need to be too many people walking on ground that is wet before the numbers are good. That means it is easier to do this with things that are not live anymore. The second paper looks at animals with four legs that were walking around a long time ago. The paper does a good job of figuring out just what those animals with four legs probably were, and about how they walked. They also had a long back end that dragged on the ground. That also tells us about how they walked. But there needs to be more stuff done on these animals with four legs and their walking marks, as well as their legs, before we know exactly what the back end marks mean.

 

References:

Logghe, A., et al. "Hyloidichnus  trackways with digit and tail drag traces from the Permian of Gonfaron  (Var, France): New insights on the locomotion of captorhinomorph  eureptiles." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 573 (2021): 110436.

Belvedere, Matteo, et al. "When is enough, enough? Questions of sampling in vertebrate ichnology." Palaeontology (2021).

Direct download: Podcast_218_-_Dem_Feet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The gang discusses two papers with… honestly a pretty flimsy link connecting them together. The first paper looks at size shifts in the dinosaur group, Alvarezsauridae, and the other paper looks at beetle fossils preserved in a dinosauromorph coprolite deposit. Meanwhile, James finds that the third time is the charm, Curt struggles to segue, and Amanda has thoughts on ham.

 

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):

Our friends talk about two papers that are not as much the same as they had hoped. The first paper looks at a group of angry animals wear most of these animals got really big a long time ago. A few of these animals start getting small, and this paper looks at one of those groups of angry animals that gets small to try and see when and why they got small. This paper uses a study of how these different animals are sister and brother to each other and then looks at how the big these animals are and tries to see if there is a time when things start to get small. They find that these things start to get small at a time pretty late in the life of the group. This is also around the time that a lot of small animals who wear their hard parts on the outside and live in big groups first appeared. Since the angry animals have weird hands that look like they could move through the ground, it is possible that these animals got smaller and started eating these even small animals who live in big groups.

The second paper looks at a small animal that wears its hard parts on the outside that was found in shit. I have to use the word shit because it is the only word in the ten hundred most used words that can be used to tell you what this animal was found in. It was found in shit. The animal is broken up so it seems that the animal was eaten by a bigger animal who then pushed it out when that animal had a shit. This small animal is one of the best remains of one of these animals from so long ago, because the shit kept the animal parts from breaking down. Shit is a really great way to find parts of other animals because it keeps some of those parts from breaking down really well. Also, the small animals in this shit are found with other bits of green things that live in water and use sun to make food. This means that the animal which ate the small animals might have been trying to eat the green things and happened to grab a lot of those small animals who were also on the green things.

 

References:

Qvarnström, Martin, et al. "Exceptionally preserved beetles in a Triassic coprolite of putative dinosauriform origin." Current Biology (2021).

Qin, Zichuan, et al. "Growth and miniaturization among alvarezsauroid dinosaurs." Current Biology (2021).

Direct download: Podcast_217_-_In_the_Thick_of_It.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

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