Palaeocast is up for a People’s Choice Award in Canada!

Science Borealis, a Canadian science blog community, along with the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada have announced the short-list for the 2018 People’s Choice Award: Canada’s Favourite Science Online, and Palaeocast has been nominated! We are honoured to be short-listed, and thanks to those at Science Borealis that . Please help us out by voting for us here. You can also read about the other nominations here. Although we’re not strictly Canadian, you do…

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Episode 94: Joggins Fossil Cliffs

The Carboniferous was a time of huge swampy forests, big trees, and lots of life both on land and in the ocean. One world-renowned fossil site from approximately 300 million years ago is the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, located on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia Canada. Joggins is one of Canada’s five palaeontology-based UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is one of the best places in this world to find fossils from this time period.…

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Flugsaurier 2018 – Los Angeles

I’ve just returned from a 2 week stint in California, where I had a bit of holiday visiting some family, and also attended Flugsaurier 2018, the semi-annual pterosaur conference. Held every 2-3 years, Flugsaurier focuses on the up-and-coming pterosaur research from around the world. It’s a small, specialist conference with 40-70 people typically who work on pterosaurs. I was involved in a minor capacity with the 2015 conference held in Portsmouth, and got sucked in…

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Episode 93: The History of Palaeontological Outreach

Palaeontology has an ability to grab the public’s attention like no other subject. Perhaps it’s the size and ferocity of something like a T. rex, or maybe it’s the alien nature of something like Hallucigenia. Irrespective of whatever it is that makes the subject interesting to any given individual, it’s important because palaeontology is a great gateway into STEM subjects and is, in itself, one of the few ways in which we can understand about the evolution…

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Quantum Start-up Week

Since I’m currently without a full-time academic job, last week I was doing something a little bit different, as part of the company I own with my husband. We were participating in Quantum Start Up Week, part of a programme put on by the University of Bristol and Spin Up Science. The main point of the week was to introduce being an entrepreneur mainly to PhD students. Though it was marketed to people based in…

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The Expedition

Welcome to this special series of podcasts relating to a fieldtrip that I have been invited on by Dr Martin Brazeau of Imperial College London. I’m being flown out as the Palaeozoic arthropod “expert” of the team and I’ll be there to deal with all the eurypterids and phyllocaridids we come across, along as documenting the whole process for outreach and hopefully your enjoyment. In all, this trip will last around 6 weeks, during which…

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No, Brian Ford, cranial neurovasculature does not mean dinosaurs were aquatic

If you’ve been on twitter these last few months, or follow palaeozoologist Darren Naish on social media, you’ll have surely heard about the new book written by Brian Ford, “Too Big to Walk: The New Science of Dinosaurs”. It’s controversial, to put it politely. Now, apologies to readers who know the back story, but we must set set the scene: Ford isn’t a palaeontologist, for starters, yet somehow he’s managed to wrangle a deal with…

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Progressive Palaeontology 2018

Welcome to our coverage of Progressive Palaeontology, the Palaeontological Association’s conference for early-career academics. The conference this year is held jointly between the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, in a Progressive Palaeontology first! Researchers from both institutions are part of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Ancient Life (ICAL), and their research interests span the entire palaeontological spectrum. Research topics include (but are by no means limited to): the origins and early evolution of arthropods;…

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Speculation and conjecture obscures the true pterosaur menu

Whenever we think about extinct animals we often imagine them tucking into their favourite meals, whether it be a Tyrannosaurus rex munching on a Triceratops steak, or a woolly mammoth enjoying an Ice Age salad. But how often do we ask whether our ideas are grounded within scientific reasoning, or are actually little more than hunger-based conjecture and speculation? Representatively understanding the diets of extinct animals is therefore important for learning how organisms fitted within…

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Episode 92: Squamate Origins

Squamates are a group of reptiles that include lizards and snakes, with the earliest fossils occurring in the Jurassic, despite molecular studies dating the group back to the Triassic. The study of their origins has been contentious because of this gap, and the lack of fossils during this time period. However, a new look at a previously-known fossil has changed our view of squamate origins, and discussing this animal and what it means about reptile…

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