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A free webseries exploring the fossil record and the evolution of life on Earth.

A free webseries exploring the fossil record and the evolution of life on Earth.
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United States

Description:

A free webseries exploring the fossil record and the evolution of life on Earth.

Language:

English


Episodes

Episode 94: Joggins Fossil Cliffs

9/17/2018
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The Carboniferous was a time of huge swampy forests, big trees, and lots of life both on land and in the ocean. One world-renowned fossil site from approximately 300 million years ago is the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, located on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia Canada. Joggins is one of Canada’s five palaeontology-based UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is one of the best places in this world to find fossils from this time period. Why are the Joggins Fossil Cliffs so important? What makes this...

Duration:00:39:01

The History of Palaeontological Outreach

8/12/2018
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Palaeontology has an ability to grab the public’s attention like no other subject. Perhaps it’s the size and ferocity of something like a T. rex, or maybe it’s the alien nature of something like Hallucigenia. Irrespective of whatever it is that makes the subject interesting to any given individual, it’s important because palaeontology is a great gateway into STEM subjects and is, in itself, one of the few ways in which we can understand about the evolution of life and the planet. But how...

Duration:00:42:51

The Expedition: Context

6/30/2018
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Welcome to this special series of podcasts relating to a fieldtrip that I have been invited on by Dr Martin Brazeau of Imperial College London. I’m being flown out as the Palaeozoic arthropod “expert” of the team and I’ll be there to deal with all the eurypterids and phyllocaridids we come across, along as documenting the whole process for outreach and hopefully your enjoyment. In all, this trip will last around 6 weeks, during which time I’ll have no internet, electricity, running water...

Duration:00:42:12

The Expedition: Planning

6/30/2018
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Welcome to this special series of podcasts relating to a fieldtrip that I have been invited on by Dr Martin Brazeau of Imperial College London. I’m being flown out as the Palaeozoic arthropod “expert” of the team and I’ll be there to deal with all the eurypterids and phyllocaridids we come across, along as documenting the whole process for outreach and hopefully your enjoyment. In all, this trip will last around 6 weeks, during which time I’ll have no internet, electricity, running water...

Duration:00:38:59

Episode 92: Squamate Origins

5/30/2018
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Squamates are a group of reptiles that include lizards and snakes, with the earliest fossils occurring in the Jurassic, despite molecular studies dating the group back to the Triassic. The study of their origins has been contentious because of this gap, and the lack of fossils during this time period. However, a new look at a previously-known fossil has changed our view of squamate origins, and discussing this animal and what it means about reptile relationships and squamates is Dr. Tiago...

Duration:00:48:59

Episode 91: Dinosaurs of Appalachia

5/24/2018
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The Appalachian mountains, span the Eastern margin of the United States of America. They are predominantly composed of Paleozoic rocks, but Mesozoic marine sediments (formed adjacent to the Appalachian continent at the time) can be found along the Eastern coast. It is within these deposits that the remains of a unique dinosaur fauna can be found. Joining us to paint a picture of the vertebrate faunas of Appalachia during the Mesozoic is Chase Brownstein, research associate at the Stamford...

Duration:00:45:23

Episode 90: Ichthyornis

5/3/2018
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Bird evolution has long fascinated palaeontologists. Despite crown-group birds (birds giving rise to modern lineages today) evolving during the Cretaceous, there are relatively few fossils from this time, making it difficult to understand this key time period and just exactly how modern birds came to be. Dr Daniel Field, 50th Anniversary Prize Fellow from the University of Bath, studies bird evolution, particularly how crown-group birds evolved. In this episode, we discuss his recent paper...

Duration:00:28:09

Episode 89: Teeth and herbivory in reptiles

4/17/2018
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Tooth shape and arrangement is strongly linked with diet, and palaeontologists often use teeth to determine what kind of food an animal may have been eating. Carnivorous teeth are generally more simple, while herbivorous teeth are more complicated. We know that herbivory evolved later, but how did the dentition of herbivores evolve? What kind of variation exists in herbivorous dentition? In this episode, we speak with Dr Aaron LeBlanc, a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of...

Duration:00:56:50

Episode 88: Bacula

4/6/2018
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The buculum is a bone present in the head of the penis of most mammals. Whilst a few mammals, like us, don't possess a baculum, some have greatly reduced versions and many have very elaborate shapes. Despite this variety in expression of the baculum, its function remains elusive, though many theories exist. Investigating the function of this bone is Dr Charlotte Brassey, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, and she joins us for this episode to give us a crash course on penile anatomy and...

Duration:00:48:18

Episode 87: Archaeopteryx

3/17/2018
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Archaeopteryx is perhaps one of the most iconic taxa in the fossil record. Exclusively found in the Late Jurassic Solnhofen Lagerstätte in Bavaria, Germany, it is a crucial taxon for understanding the relationship between dinosaurs and birds. Furthermore, it is critically positioned to inform us how flight evolved in this group. Now, a new study published in Nature Communications, has been inferring how Archaeopteryx was able to fly by examining details of its bones. In this interview, we...

Duration:00:41:00

Episode 86: Coal

2/1/2018
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The Carboniferous (Latin for ‘coal-bearing’) is a period of the Paleozoic named after the massive accumulations of coal that were formed globally during this time. These coal deposits were the fuel for the Industrial Revolution and continue to be an important economic resource to this day. For this interview, we asked Standford University’s Prof. Kevin Boyce to introduce us to coal production and to tell us how it’s formed and what it’s made of. We then concentrate on determining why the...

Duration:00:46:44

Episode 85: Ichthyosaurs

1/7/2018
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Ichthyosaurs are large marine reptiles that existed for most of the Mesozoic Era. The most familiar forms superficially represent dolphins, but some earlier ichthyosaurs were more eel like. They could attain huge proportions, with some genera reaching up to 21m long. They were active predators feeding on belemnite, fishes and even other marine reptiles! In this episode, we talk to Dr Ben Moon and Fiann Smithwick, researchers at the University of Bristol, UK. Both have recently been involved...

Duration:01:09:30

Episode 84: Neoproterozoic Acritarchs

1/6/2018
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In this episode, we interview Dr Leigh Anne Riedman, University of California, about life during the Neoproterozoic Era, the most recent of the Precambrian Eon. This time interval is far from straight forward; not only were there changes in oceanic and atmospheric chemistry, but also dramatic shifts in climate and the formation and subsequent rifting of the supercontinent Rodinia. The Neoproterozoic also saw major biological innovations and ended with the appearance of the enigmatic...

Duration:00:44:58

Episode 83: Gogo Fishes

12/1/2017
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Professor John Long is an early vertebrate researcher at Flinders University, Australia. He is most famous for his work on the three-dimentionally-preserved fish from the Gogo Formation, North West Australia. In this interview, Dr Tom Fletcher (who you'll remember from Episode 76) got the chance to speak to Prof. Long during a field trip to the world-famous Burgess Shale.

Duration:00:23:56

Episode 81: Coccolithophores

10/1/2017
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Coccolithophores are tiny unicellular eukaryotic phytoplankton (algae). Each is covered with even smaller calcium carbonate plates called coccoliths and it is these that are commonly preserved in the fossil record. In fact, coccoliths are so small, and can be so common, that they have been able to be employed in areas other than academia. Joining us is Dr Liam Gallagher, Director Network Stratigraphic Limited and a nannoplankton specialist. In this episode, he explains what coccolithophores...

Duration:00:49:08

Episode 80: Paleocreations

9/1/2017
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We've covered how palaeoart is made on Palaeocast before, but never what daily life is like for a professional palaeoartist. What does it take to get started, when can you say no to a commission and which factors come in to play when deciding how much to quote? Joining us for this episode is Bob Nicholls of Paleocreations

Duration:00:35:29

Episode 79: Late Devonian Vertebrates

7/31/2017
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The transition of fins to limbs is one of the most significant in the history of vertebrate evolution. These were the first steps that would eventually allow tetrapods to go on to dominate so many terrestrial ecosystems. Fossils that help fill the gaps in this crucial time are invaluable, so how do we go about finding them and what happens when we do discover one? Joining us to give an overview of some of the fossils involved in this transition, and to provide insights into the fieldwork...

Duration:00:28:01

Episode 78: Japanese Palaeontology

6/30/2017
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When thinking of palaeontology in Asia, most people think of Mongolia and China, but there is actually a significant palaeontology community in Japan. Japan has many fossils, starting in the Ordovician, and ranging from everything from bivalves and trilobites to dinosaurs and mammals. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Makoto Manabe, the Director of the Centre for Collections and Centre for Molecular Biodiversity Research at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo. Makoto...

Duration:00:57:27

Episode 77: South American Gomphotheres

6/15/2017
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The proboscideans are a group of animals that contains the elephant and mastodont families. Many of us will be well-aware of these groups, but what of some of the lesser-known proboscideans? One such family are the gomphotheres and in this episode we’re introduced to them by Dr Dimila Mothé, of the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Duration:00:50:53