Evidence of Intense Predation Pressures on Ancient Megafauna

Biology is full of exciting avenues, and some of the finest, in my opinion, are the morphological and behavioural adaptations that define the split seconds whether an animal lives or dies, eats or starves. Predator-prey interactions are extremely exciting- not only visually (I strongly recommend watching the BBC’s The Hunt)- but they also play an important role in the dynamics of biological systems. Some of you may remember the announcement of an exquisitely preserved nodosauid…

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#433 The State of Science Journalism

This week we step into the world of science journalism from the perspectives of two unique and reputable popular science publications. Guest host Anika Hazra speaks with Katie Palmer, senior editor of the online science and health section at WIRED, about her direct route into science journalism through a master's in science reporting and her role as an editor of online content. And she talks with Michael Segal, founding editor and editor-in-chief of Nautlius magazine,…

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Episode 79: Late Devonian Vertebrates

The transition of fins to limbs is one of the most significant in the history of vertebrate evolution. These were the first steps that would eventually allow tetrapods to go on to dominate so many terrestrial ecosystems. Fossils that help fill the gaps in this crucial time are invaluable, so how do we go about finding them and what happens when we do discover one? Joining us to give an overview of some of the…

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Palaeocast Art Competition 2017

The Palaeocast art competition is back and we’ve got another great selection of prizes up for grabs this year. We have five models from Paleozoo, five prints from palaeoartist Bob Nicholls and some VNHM posters! We’ll be running the competition on Facebook and Twitter for the whole month of August using #palaeocastart. To enter, simply: Email your original artwork to us, along with a name and title (please state if you are <16). Palaeocast then uploads it to Facebook…

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Playing Doctor with Titanosaurs

Titanosaurs include some of the largest terrestrial organisms to walk the Earth: globally distributed, multi-tonne behemoths representing the last of the sauropods at the end Cretaceous extinction event. Much about their biology is known, ranging from nesting behaviour to the skin texture of their embryos. Yet the impact of pathologies on these animals is enigmatic; despite the completeness of their fossil record, there are very few documented instances of disease and injury in this clade.…

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New Oviraptorid Shows Cassowary Convergence

The Late Cretaceous rocks of Ganzhou, China, are rife with oviraptorids. We have seen these strange theropods before here at Palaeocast, when we looked at the very high temperatures at which they incubated their eggs. The Ganzhou rocks, which range from Campanian to Maastrichtian in age, have six oviraptorid species, and their ranks have been bolstered by a new addition: Corythoraptor jacobsi. Fig. 1. Artist representation of Corythoraptor jacobsi, with a clear nod to modern…

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Darwin wouldn’t draw. Seriously.

He said so himself. And he regretted it. Exhibit A, from The Autobiography of Charles Darwin: “[Not being urged to practice dissection] has been an irremediable evil, as well as my incapacity to draw.” It was actually Darwin’s shipmate on the HMS Beagle, Conrad Martens, who made the sketches best known from that expedition. And, it wasn’t until … Continue reading Darwin wouldn’t draw. Seriously.

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#431 Memory and Emotion

This week we look at how our brains process memory and emotion. We talk to Michael Yassa, Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurobiology and Behavior, and Neurology at UC Irvine, about how our brains discriminate similar memories from each other and the conditions that compromise that ability. And we speak with James McGaugh, Research Fellow and Founding Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior and Founding Director of the Center for the Neurobiology…

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