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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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Location:

United Kingdom

Description:

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

Twitter:

@Palaeocast

Language:

English

Contact:

+447877232646


Episodes

Episode 104: Ediacaran Developmental Biology

10/15/2019
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The Ediacaran Period is host to the first large and complex multicellular organisms known in the fossil record. This 'Ediacaran Biota' has long eluded definitive placement on the tree of life, seemingly falling between even the most fundamental of its branches. At the core of this taxonomic issue are their unique body plans, not seen replicated in any other kingdom. Amongst the researchers trying to unravel the mystery of these organisms is Dr Frances Dunn of the University of Oxford....

Duration:00:55:31

Episode 103: Terror Birds

9/15/2019
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Terror birds, or phorusrhacids as they are known scientifically, are a group of large, flightless birds that lived during the Cenozoic, and truly lived up to their name. Known for their large, powerful skulls, and enormous beaks, these birds are unlike the flightless birds we have alive today. Despite their strange appearance and unique morphology, terror birds aren't well known in popular culture. What were they doing? How big did they get? What did they eat? In this episode, we talk to a...

Duration:00:41:16

Episode 102b: Small Shelly Fossils

9/1/2019
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Between the weird and wonderful rangeomorphs of the Ediacaran Period and the world-famous palaeocommunities of the Burgess Shale, the 'Early Cambrian' is host to a 'waste basket' of fossils untied by their small size and shelly construction. These small shelly fossils (SSFs) aren't just a single group of animals, but represent several different invertebrate phyla. Further compounding the difficulty of their identification, each SSF, termed a 'sclerite', is part of a larger composite...

Duration:00:33:36

Episode 102a: Small Shelly Fossils

8/14/2019
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Between the weird and wonderful rangeomorphs of the Ediacaran Period and the world-famous palaeocommunities of the Burgess Shale, the 'Early Cambrian' is host to a 'waste basket' of fossils untied by their small size and shelly construction. These small shelly fossils (SSFs) aren't just a single group of animals, but represent several different invertebrate phyla. Further compounding the difficulty of their identification, each SSF, termed a 'sclerite', is part of a larger composite...

Duration:00:42:16

Episode 101: Organic Preservation of Dinosaur Bone

7/1/2019
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Fossilisation of organic material was long thought to result in the complete loss of original content. However in the last 20 years, several high-profile publications reported the discovery of proteins, blood vessels, blood cells and even DNA. But for as long as these arguments have existed, so too has a counterargument as to the validity of the discoveries. In this episode, we're joined by Dr Evan Saitta of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, lead author of a recent paper...

Duration:01:09:45

Episode 100: Tiktaalik

5/24/2019
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One of palaeontology‘s great themes of questioning is the rise of novelty: how new structures and functions arise in specific lineages. In this episode we speak with Neil Shubin, Professor of Organismal Biology at the University of Chicago, who has been studying novelty in the context of the vertebrate transition from water to land. Neil studies the fossil record of early tetrapods, the first vertebrates with limbs, to understand what changes underpinned this great transition. The other...

Duration:00:39:38

Episode 99: Megalodon and Marine Megafauna

4/15/2019
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Undoubtedly, Megalodon is the world’s most famous extinct shark is and in this episode, we hear everything we know about this taxon, its ecology and how it got to be so big. Its ultimate extinction is also considered, not in isolation, but placed in the wider context of the entire marine ecosystem. Joining us is Dr Catalina Pimiento of Swansea University.

Duration:00:40:25

Episode 98: 10 Tons

3/14/2019
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From 1:1 scale whales to microfossils scaled up to the size of a house, there are few model-building projects that 10 Tons are afraid to take on. At the helm of this business is Esben Horn and in this episode, he joins us to discuss the process of model building, from concept to museum display. We also talk about some of the exhibitions 10 Tons have led themselves, including the successful ‘Rock Fossils on Tour‘ which showcases some of the different fossils named in honour of rock/metal...

Duration:00:45:33

Episode 97: Opsins

2/28/2019
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Opsins are the photosensitive proteins in the eye, responsible for converting a photons of light into an electro-chemical signals. Different opsins react to different wavelengths of light, each corresponding to a different band of colour. In humans, the 'visible spectrum' of light (a very anthropocentric term) is covered by three opsins, receptive to red, green and blue wavelengths. Other animals have opsins that are capable of subdividing the 'visible spectrum' and responding to a large...

Duration:00:52:00

Episode 96: Decapods

1/1/2019
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Decapods are a group of crustaceans that include such well-known families as crabs, lobsters and shrimp. Whilst crustaceans are known from as early as the Cambrian, we don't see the first decapods until Devonian. Over the course of their evolutionary history, decapods have remained relatively conservative in their morphology with the exception of some interesting forms in the Mesozoic. In this episode, Dr Carrie Schweitzer, Kent State University, gives us a run-down of the taxonomy and...

Duration:00:52:23

Episode 95: Plants and Atmosphere

10/16/2018
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The interaction between plants and atmosphere forms the basis of the carbon cycle and is amongst the most important processes for maintaining life on the planet today. Photosynthesis removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and in return forms the base of the food chain and produces the oxygen we, as animals, need to breathe. Equally, the composition of the atmosphere influences the climate and thus the availability of resources, governing where plants are able to survive. The...

Duration:00:27:33

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

Episode 93: 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: 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

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

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