SVPCA 2018

We are very happy to be able to present the 66th Symposium on Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, held at the Universities of Manchester and Salford, September 5th-7th 2018. Robert Sansom SVPCA opening remarks Mike Coates Sharks uprooted – new perspectives on early chondrichthyans Katie Davis Shaping the avian (super)tree of life Sam Giles Unravelling osteichthyan relationships: evolutionary tales from the head of forgotten fishes Rob Asher Confidence in palaeontological systematics: lessons from mammals …

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Early tetrapod feeding

Well, I’ve managed to fail at my scicomm resolution for the year, which was to write at least one blog post a month. I missed out on September, but I’m back on it in October with an update on what I’ve been up to in the past few months. As some of you know, I’ve been spending a lot of the past year since finishing my PhD working off-and-on in an arthritis research lab, looking…

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Episode 95: Plants and Atmosphere

The interaction between plants and atmosphere forms the basis of the carbon cycle and is amongst the most important processes for maintaining life on the planet today. Photosynthesis removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and in return forms the base of the food chain and produces the oxygen we, as animals, need to breathe. Equally, the composition of the atmosphere influences the climate and thus the availability of resources, governing where plants are able to…

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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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