The study of life, past and present, revolves around the evolution, diversity, and extinction of organisms. But exactly how we group organisms and how we understand how new groups arise is a complex topic with much terminology and occasional turmoil. In this episode, we discuss Species and Speciation.Continue reading
From microbes to mushrooms, spiders to snakes, urchins to us, all life engages in chemical warfare. Toxins produced by organisms are enormously varied in their origins, functions, and evolutionary histories. In this episode, we discuss the nasty chemicals that make up Venom and Poison.Continue reading
Kangaroos, koalas, opossums, possums, Tasmanian devils, and their relatives … they all have a few things in common: an unusual reproductive strategy, a pouch for their young, and a shared evolutionary history that separates them from the majority of living mammals. This episode is all about Marsupials.Continue reading
Most famous extinction events are very animal-focused, but the end of the Carboniferous saw one of the worst plant mass extinctions in Earth history. In this episode, we discuss the specifics, the background, the causes, and the impacts of the Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse.Continue reading
For tens of millions of years, they were dominant predators in North America, and they have since spread naturally into habitats around the globe, but you know them best as the most iconic domesticated species on Earth. This episode, we explore the diversity, evolution, and history of Dogs.Continue reading
They got their start more than 20 million years ago, and today they’re among the most charismatic and successful mammals on Earth, from the African savannah to the Amazon rainforest to the many memes of the internet. This episode, we explore the diversity, evolution, and history of Cats.
Animals are many and varied, but one of the things nearly all of them share is that they start life off inside a small and special capsule complete with everything the growing embryo needs for protection and nutrition. In this episode, we discuss the diversity, evolution, and fossil history of Eggs.
There are three living groups of amphibians, but one in particular is exceptionally diverse, occupying nearly every landmass on Earth and coming in a dizzying variety of species. From their mysterious origins to their Mesozoic diversity to their modern-day world domination, this episode explores the history of Frogs.
You may be familiar with the concept of organisms alive today that are relics of the ancient past, holdovers from times long ago. But this idea, misleading and poorly defined as it often is, is the source of much debate among scientists and science communicators, often revolving around the specific term we discuss in this episode: “Living Fossils.”
More than 100 years ago, explorers in the Canadian Rocky Mountains came across some exceptional fossils. Nowadays, that locality is famous as one of the most important fossil sites in the world for understanding animal evolution, Earth history, and fossil preservation. This episode, we talk about the incredible Burgess Shale.