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.
We have them, you have them, and vertebrates throughout Earth history have had them. The history of vertebrate life, the study of vertebrate paleontology, and the myriad ways we have to discuss and describe living and fossil animals and their ecological roles are tied tightly to the Evolution of Teeth.
In the Late Jurassic they were small bipedal animals with horns on their cheeks; by the end of the Cretaceous, they had given rise to multi-ton animals with enormous ornamented skulls that roamed North America in massive herds. This episode, we discuss the evolution and lifestyles of Ceratopsians.
In the South Pacific Ocean, there is a family of islands that have been isolated since the Cretaceous Period. Now and in the distant past, it’s been home to some of the most unique and fascinating ecosystems on Earth. This episode, we explore the history and the evolution of New Zealand.
We’ve talked about mass extinction many times, and indeed we’ve covered four out of the famous “Big Five” that so shaped the history of life on Earth. This time, we’re completing the set, discussing the earliest of the five, exploring the setting, causes, and results of the Ordovician Mass Extinction.
Life ain’t easy. For animals, plants, and organisms of all kinds, there exists a constant threat of injury and disease. Fortunately, these unfortunate occurrences sometimes leave evidence in fossils that can inform us of the lives – and even deaths – of species from long ago. The study of this evidence is called Paleopathology.