Episode 98: 10 Tons

From 1:1 scale whales to microfossils scaled up to the size of a house, there are few model-building projects that 10 Tons are afraid to take on. At the helm of this business is Esben Horn and in this episode, he joins us to discuss the process of model building, from concept to museum display. We also talk about some of the exhibitions 10 Tons have led themselves, including the successful ‘Rock Fossils on Tour‘…

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Now a British-Canadian palaeontologist! Why I chose to get citizenship

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, primarily because I have been extraordinarily busy, and also because I haven’t felt like I’ve had much interesting to say lately. I’ll have some more science-related posts soon (I hope), but for now, I wanted to talk about something that’s been bugging me a lot lately: my reasoning for getting British citizenship. As some of you know, I recently became a British citizen. I applied in November, received…

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Episode 97: Opsins

Opsins are the photosensitive proteins in the eye, responsible for converting a photons of light into an electro-chemical signals. Different opsins react to different wavelengths of light, each corresponding to a different band of colour. In humans, the ‘visible spectrum’ of light (a very anthropocentric term) is covered by three opsins, receptive to red, green and blue wavelengths. Other animals have opsins that are capable of subdividing the ‘visible spectrum’ and responding to a large…

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Episode 96: Decapods

Decapods are a group of crustaceans that include such well-known families as crabs, lobsters and shrimp. Whilst crustaceans are known from as early as the Cambrian, we don’t see the first decapods until Devonian. Over the course of their evolutionary history, decapods have remained relatively conservative in their morphology with the exception of some interesting forms in the Mesozoic. In this episode, Dr Carrie Schweitzer, Kent State University, gives us a run-down of the taxonomy…

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2018 – Year in Review

Seems like yet another year is drawing to a close. How do they keep passing so quickly? Stop that! Since it’s the end of the year again, I guess it’s time for another year in review about what I’ve been up to. 2018 was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Nothing particularly bad, but also nothing amazingly awesome. The good stuff: A couple of good things that happened this year – I published…

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PalAss 2018

This year, The Palaeontological Associations AGM is being held at the University of Bristol. We’ll be live for all three days of the conference and recording of the talks will be available here shortly afterwards. You can put your questions to the presenters via the chat function on YouTube. If you experience any issues with the live stream, please refresh your browser. If problems persist, tweet us @Palaeocast. You can also join in on the…

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Why I don’t want to move country

Recently, Nature published an article titled ‘Why you should move country‘, about the advantages of moving countries as academics. A study has shown that those who are more mobile get more citations, better collaborations, etc. This article sparked a discussion on Twitter about advantages and disadvantages of moving for academia, and there were many opinions and thoughts about it. While I agree that there are advantages to moving labs in order to work with new…

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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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