Episode 160: An introduction to Evolutionary Biology
Palaeocast | Palaeontology podcast
by Palaeocast
2M ago
The field of evolutionary biology has been greatly influenced by the development of modern genetic methodology. The understanding of genes, genomes and the molecular mechanisms key to life on Earth are all goals of evolutionary biology in the 21st century, yet its potential applications seem to be near limitless. Palaeontology and evolutionary biology continue to be closely related and both, with their deeply rooted origins, have been essential to our understanding of macroevolution (major evolutionary change over long periods of time) ever since the major development of the theory in the 19th ..read more
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200 Years of Dinos
Palaeocast | Palaeontology podcast
by Palaeocast
3M ago
It's been two centuries since the first dinosaur, Megalosaurus, was named by William Buckland and to commemorate the date, the Natural History Museum hosted '200 Years of Dinosaurs: Their Rise, Fall, and Rebirth'. This international conference provides a snapshot of dinosaur research in 2024, demonstrating just how far our understanding of this group has come since 1824. In our coverage of this event, we speak to many of the leading palaeontologists in the field, as we look back over the last 200 years of research and consider what the next 200 might reveal ..read more
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Episode 158: Ceoptera evansae
Palaeocast | Palaeontology podcast
by Palaeocast
4M ago
The Middle Jurassic is incredibly important to our understanding of pterosaur evolution; however, the remarkable rarity and incompleteness of Middle Jurassic pterosaurs has long hampered scientific understanding of the lineage. Joining us this episode on the other side of the microphone is one of Palaeocast’s own team members, Dr Liz Martin Silverstone, a Technical Specialist at the University of Bristol who has recently described Ceoptera evansae, a darwinopteran pterosaur from the Isle of Skye. Together, we explore the new specimen, how it fits in to the group, and the insights it can give u ..read more
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Episode 157: The Carnegie Diplodocus
Palaeocast | Palaeontology podcast
by Palaeocast
6M ago
Originally mounted in 1907, the Carnegie specimen is the best example of the sauropod dinosaur Diplodocus, and perhaps the most famous dinosaur skeleton in the world. Casts of the specimen, including the London example known as “Dippy”, were distributed around the world during the early 1900s, and a final concrete cast was even created in 1957 for the Utah Field House at Vernal. Although the moulds used to create these casts were lost sometime during the 1960’s, new ones created from the concrete skeleton have allowed second generation casts to be made, with some elements being incorporated in ..read more
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Episode 112: Extinction of the dinosaurs
Palaeocast | Palaeontology podcast
by Palaeocast
7M ago
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 also been suggested that dinosaurs were already in decline when these things happened, speeding up the ine ..read more
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Episode 131: Burmese Amber Pt1
Palaeocast | Palaeontology podcast
by Palaeocast
7M ago
Burmese amber is well known for preserving fossils in exquisite details. This amber is dated to around 100 million years old, representing the Albian - Cenomanian ages of the Cretaceous period, so would have been deposited whilst non-avian dinosaurs still walked the land. Fossils preserved in this amber include representatives from numerous different groups including arachnids, insects, vertebrates, and plants. Whilst the amber itself (as fossilised tree sap/resin) is produced in a terrestrial environment, some marine species have been caught up in amber. This includes such animals as ostracod ..read more
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Episode 110: The Fin-Limb Transition and Early Tetrapod Biodiversity
Palaeocast | Palaeontology podcast
by Palaeocast
7M ago
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 have filled in crucial gaps in the tetrapod evolutionary tree. This changing picture really came to the fo ..read more
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Episode 152: Lissamphibian Origins Pt2
Palaeocast | Palaeontology podcast
by Palaeocast
7M ago
Part 2. Caecilians, sometimes known as ‘blind worms’, are a lesser-known group of lissamphibians (all living amphibians). Most modern caecilians are all fossorial (burrowing) and are restricted to the moist soils and leaf litter of tropical forests. Adaptation to this specific ecology has led to radical modification of their bodies, from fusion of the bones in the head and the function of the jaw, to the loss of limbs and development of unique sensory organs. The fossil record of caecilians is incredibly poor, with only 10 specimens available for researchers to piece together their evolutionar ..read more
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Episode 151: Lissamphibian Origins Pt1
Palaeocast | Palaeontology podcast
by Palaeocast
7M ago
Caecilians, sometimes known as ‘blind worms’, are a lesser-known group of lissamphibians (all living amphibians). Most modern caecilians are all fossorial (burrowing) and are restricted to the moist soils and leaf litter of tropical forests. Adaptation to this specific ecology has led to radical modification of their bodies, from fusion of the bones in the head and the function of the jaw, to the loss of limbs and development of unique sensory organs. The fossil record of caecilians is incredibly poor, with only 10 specimens available for researchers to piece together their evolutionary histor ..read more
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Episode 136: Burmese Amber Pt2b
Palaeocast | Palaeontology podcast
by Palaeocast
7M ago
Continuing our mini series on Burmese Amber, we now turn our focus to the ethics of working on this fossil material. Can possessing or working on amber from Myanmar ever be considered ethical? In the first part of this episode, we examined the political context, work around Myanmar’s fossil exportation laws and follow the money back through the trade routes. Now, in the second part, we discuss why it’s currently unethical to study Burmese amber, what palaeontologists can do about that, and whether the situation might change in the future. Joining us to guide us through this process are Nussaïb ..read more
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