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Palaeocast

Science Podcasts

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.

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 119: The Soom Shale

12/18/2020
The Soom Shale is an Ordovician lagerstätte in the Western Cape of South Africa. Whilst it lacks the diversity of organisms seen in other lagerstätten, such as the Burgess Shale or Chengjiang, it more than makes up for it in the fidelity of preservation. The taphonomic pathway to the fantastic preservation in the Soom Shale is long and complex, reliant not only on local conditions, but also ties into global climatic events. It’s vitally important when interpreting fossils to understand the...

Duration:00:59:22

Episode 118: South African Sauropodomorphs

12/1/2020
Piecing together the early lives of dinosaurs is difficult due to a lack of fossils from juvenile and embryonic stages. In this episode, Elsa Panciroli talks to Dr Kimi Chappelle, a postdoctoral fellow at the Evolutionary Studies Institute, part of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chappelle specialises in sauropodomorphs – the precursors of the giant sauropod dinosaurs like Diplodocus. Her recent work is helping build a picture of their growth and...

Duration:00:36:24

Episode 117: Decolonising Palaeontology

11/16/2020
Lack of diversity is one of the major issues in the sciences in recent times. We’ve discussed diversity in palaeontology in previous podcasts, but in this episode Elsa takes a look at the legacy of racism and colonialism in palaeontology and museum collections, and what efforts are being made to address these issues. Colonial attitudes towards people of non-European descent have meant that their natural heritage was often plundered and sent back to Europe and the United States to fill...

Duration:01:15:41

Episode 116: Ice Age Palaeoecology

11/1/2020
When we think about the Ice Age or the Pleistocene, we generally think of large animals: wooly mammoths trudging through snow, sabre-tooth tigers taking down their next meal, and big bison out on the steppes. These are really interesting things to think about, but what else can we learn from the Pleistocene other big animals and their extinction? We can also use the Pleistocene (which is relatively similar to the modern world in terms of continental layout, landscapes, and ecological niche...

Duration:01:13:36

Episode 115b: Diatoms of Lake Baikal

10/15/2020
Part 2. Diatoms are a major group of algae found in waters all around the world. As photosynthetic phytoplankton, they are hugely important ‘primary producers’, integral to nearly every aquatic food chain. They are responsible for a large proportion of the world’s oxygen production, with estimates ranging between 20 and 50%. Diatoms are unicellular plants that produce their cell walls, termed frustules, out of silica. These intricate frustules are what we find preserved in the fossil...

Duration:00:54:07

Episode 115a: Diatoms of Lake Baikal

10/1/2020
Diatoms are a major group of algae found in waters all around the world. As photosynthetic phytoplankton, they are hugely important ‘primary producers’, integral to nearly every aquatic food chain. They are responsible for a large proportion of the world’s oxygen production, with estimates ranging between 20 and 50%. Diatoms are unicellular plants that produce their cell walls, termed frustules, out of silica. These intricate frustules are what we find preserved in the fossil record and...

Duration:00:42:30

Episode 114b: Horseshoe Crabs

8/14/2020
Part 2 of 2. The horseshoe crabs (Xiphosura) are a group of large aquatic arthropods known from the East coast of the USA, and the Southern and Eastern coasts of Asia. Despite their name, they are not actually crabs at all, but are chelicerates (the group containing spiders and scorpions). As a group, the horseshoe crabs possess an extremely long fossil record, reaching as far back as the Ordovician Period, some 480 million years ago. Since that time, they would appear to have undergone...

Duration:01:00:27

Episode 114a: Horseshoe Crabs

7/31/2020
The horseshoe crabs (Xiphosura) are a group of large aquatic arthropods known from the East coast of the USA, and the Southern and Eastern coasts of Asia. Despite their name, they are not actually crabs at all, but are chelicerates (the group containing spiders and scorpions). As a group, the horseshoe crabs possess an extremely long fossil record, reaching as far back as the Ordovician Period, some 480 million years ago. Since that time, they would appear to have undergone very little...

Duration:00:48:51

Episode 113: PBS Eons

7/15/2020
With palaeontology as popular as it is you will never be short of content online, whether that be articles, blogs, podcasts (of which there are now many others you should also be listening to) or videos. This allows you, the public, to enjoy learning about past life on demand and in a format that best suits you. The only issue with having so many sources of information/entertainment is that the quality can be highly variable and it can be difficult to determine whether any given...

Duration:01:06:34

Episode 112: Extinction of the dinosaurs

6/29/2020
The end-Cretaceous (or K-Pg) extinction is one of the best known mass extinctions in Earth's history, primarily because that is when non-avian dinosaurs disappeared. Although the popular idea is that an asteroid impact was what caused the extinction, the science hasn't actually been that clear. More recently, a second hypothesis has challenged the idea asteroid as the main culprit, suggesting that huge volcanic eruptions in what is now India called the Deccan Traps was responsible. It has...

Duration:00:37:37

Episode 111: Diversity in Palaeontology

6/17/2020
In this episode, in conjunction with the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP), we investigate issues of diversity in palaeontology, through interviews with Jann Nassif (PhD student at Ohio University, USA) on being transgender in palaeontology; Professor Taissa Rodrigues (Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Brazil) and Dr Femke Holwerda (Dr Betsy Nicholls Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Canada) about women in palaeontology; and...

Duration:01:01:47

Episode 110: The Fin-Limb Transition and Early Tetrapod Biodiversity

5/31/2020
One of the great themes in palaeobiology is the water-land transition, or how and when the ancestors of today’s four-legged terrestrial animals moved to land. Lines of questioning have included understanding the anatomy and biomechanics of the axial skeleton- head and vertebrae (focusing on biting and swallowing) and the appendicular skeleton (focusing on how the earliest tetrapods walked or swam). Our picture of this story has drastically changed in the last three decades, as new fossils...

Duration:01:10:46

Episode 109: Early Tetrapod Feeding Mechanics

5/1/2020
Early tetrapods include the earliest animals to grow legs, and their closest ancestors. Moving from the water to land required a number of changes within the skeleton and muscular system, related to moving from swimming to crawling, greater pressure on the body after experiencing further effects of gravity without buoyancy, and the difference in feeding with and without water. This transition is commonly referred to as the 'water-to-land' transition. While a significant amount of work has...

Duration:00:45:32

04/20 Announcement

4/18/2020
Updates about the show and discussion of recent events

Duration:00:02:11

Episode 108: Plesiosaurs

3/1/2020
Plesiosaurs are some of the most easily recognisable animals in the fossil record. Simply uttering the words ‘Loch Ness Monster’ can conjure a reasonably accurate image of what they look like. Thanks to palaeoart, it’s also fairly easy to envision how they lived: swimming through the open Jurassic seas, picking fish, ammonites and belemnites out of the water. What we don’t imagine are plesiosaurs at the South Pole, nor would we ever picture them swimming amongst icebergs or poking their...

Duration:00:53:49

Episode 107b: Nomenclature

2/2/2020
Part 2. Names can provide a large amount of information about the heritage of an individual, the purpose of a product or even the characteristics of an organism. With so much in a name, are there rules governing what you can and can’t name an animal? Can you name an animal after yourself or a celebrity? Can you sell the rights to a name? Which names are forbidden? Every year 2,000 genera and some 15,000 species are added to scientific literature and providing the guidelines as to how these...

Duration:00:35:40

Episode 107a: Nomenclature

1/20/2020
Names can provide a large amount of information about the heritage of an individual, the purpose of a product or even the characteristics of an organism. With so much in a name, are there rules governing what you can and can’t name an animal? Can you name an animal after yourself or a celebrity? Can you sell the rights to a name? Which names are forbidden? Every year 2,000 genera and some 15,000 species are added to scientific literature and providing the guidelines as to how these animals...

Duration:00:39:00

Episode 106: Herpetology

1/1/2020
Herpetology is the study of reptiles, amphibians and caecilians. This includes frogs, salamanders, crocodiles, snakes, lizards and tuatara, to name just a few. These cold-blooded tetrapods have an evolutionary history that reaches back to the Carboniferous. For many of these groups, questions remain about their evolutionary relationships and patterns of diversity through major extinction events. New fossil discoveries are helping address some of these outstanding mysteries. Prof. Susan...

Duration:00:57:38

Episode 105: Ferrodraco

11/14/2019
Australia has many fossils from all ages, including several dinosaurs known exclusively from this time and place. However, they are not well known for their pterosaur fossils, having only a handful of specimens, and up to now just two named species from this large continent. Last month, the most complete pterosaur from Australia was described, a new species called Ferrodraco lentoni. At the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Brisbane, Australia, we were able to sit down with Adele...

Duration:00:31:57

Episode 104: Ediacaran Developmental Biology

10/15/2019
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