Sex adds a whole other level of complexity to the lives of organisms. On top of the struggle to survive fueling natural selection, they must also compete to find a mate and reproduce. In this episode, we discuss one of the more bizarre mechanisms driving evolution: Sexual Selection.
For hundreds of millions of years, trees have produced resin. In the right conditions, that resin can harden and persist in the fossil record, and when we’re lucky, it can take with it all sorts of amazing organic remains that normally escape the fossil record: rare species, evidence of ecological interaction, and even behaviors caught in progress. This episode, we talk about the amazing world of Amber.
Ancient animals didn’t just stand around. They moved, interacted, hunted, reproduced, and did all the things animals do. It’s easy to image all of that information is lost to time, but there are all sorts of ways paleontologists can find those clues. In this episode, we’re exploring the tools, techniques, and amazing fossil finds that help us understand Behavior in the Fossil Record.
Turtles are so weird and wonderful. They’ve been around since the Triassic Period, but right from the start, they went down an anatomical pathway that has made them unlike any other animal. They took their strange body shape and diversified into an incredible array of shapes and lifestyles. And despite a fairly good fossil record and plenty of genetic data, their evolutionary relationships remain mysterious. This episode, it’s all about Turtles.
Only four times in the history of evolution have organisms developed powered flight. The only mammals to do it has achieved a worldwide distribution, a remarkable diversity, and the honor of being one of the most numerous groups of mammals. And yet, their evolutionary history is shrouded in mystery. In this episode, we discuss perhaps the most incredible of mammals: Bats.
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.