For three decades at the end of the 1800s, two prominent paleontologists waged a war across North America. They discovered hundreds of fossil species from dozens of sites as they competed for the biggest discoveries and wrote lengthy criticisms of each other’s work. In the process, they laid the foundations of American paleontology and generated the nastiest and most infamous feud in the history of the field: the Bone Wars.
In the modern world, flowering plants are dominant in nearly all ecosystems, but it wasn’t always this way. The fossil record of these plants doesn’t offer many clues to their origins, but once they arrived on the scene they underwent one of the biggest radiations in life history. In this episode, we’re joined again by our friend Aly Baumgartner to discuss the Evolution of Angiosperms.
In this episode we take a look at the origins of a theory that we discuss in almost every episode of the podcast: the theory of evolution. Instead of describing different examples of how evolution works we thought it better to describe the long and complicated history of how this idea came to exist as it does today. So join us as we analyze the Evolution of Evolutionary Theory.
Usually, when we talk about mass extinction, we’re referring to events long past. But scary levels of extinction are a fact of our current world, as well. In this episode, we discuss just how bad our current ecological crisis is, what’s causing it, what we can do about it, and whether or not the current state of affairs truly deserves to be called The Sixth Extinction.
Darwin Day has come around again (February 12th), and bio-nerds around the world are celebrating science and natural history! Last year, we devoted an episode to Charles Darwin himself, and this year we’re joined again by Dr. Sarah Bray of the podcast Discovering Darwin. But this time, we’re highlighting the other guy, the young naturalist who arrived at the same evolutionary hypothesis as Darwin, and who shared the spotlight of discovery for a while. This episode, we’re talking about the fascinating and often overlooked Alfred Russell Wallace.
It’s been called the most diverse of all bones. It comes in an incredible variety of shapes and sizes, living and fossil, scattered across the mammalian family tree. It is clearly of evolutionary importance, yet its exact function still perplexes scientists to this day. It’s called the baculum, and it is found exclusively in mammalian penises.
The sounds that animals make are a huge part of their behavior and how we recognize them. The sounds that prehistoric animals made, on the other hand, are lost to the past. But perhaps not entirely. There have been a few instances where fossils have given us clues to the noises these animals may have made, allowing paleontologists to reconstruct the Sounds of the Past.