Past Time

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Past Time is a podcast that explores how we know what we know about the past. There's a special focus on the fossil record - it is hosted by two paleontologists - but delving into the story of the past isn't limited to dry bones. Today's paleontologists use techniques drawn from other sciences including Physics, Chemistry, Geology, and Biology to figure out what extinct animals were like and how they lived. Whether you are just starting to learn about the amazing animals that have called this planet home, or you have been fascinated by fossils for a long time, we hope you will join us as we dig into past times. Keywords: Paleontology, Dinosaurs, Mammals, Reptiles, Birds, Animals, Fossils, Extinction

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Past Time is a podcast that explores how we know what we know about the past. There's a special focus on the fossil record - it is hosted by two paleontologists - but delving into the story of the past isn't limited to dry bones. Today's paleontologists use techniques drawn from other sciences including Physics, Chemistry, Geology, and Biology to figure out what extinct animals were like and how they lived. Whether you are just starting to learn about the amazing animals that have called this planet home, or you have been fascinated by fossils for a long time, we hope you will join us as we dig into past times. Keywords: Paleontology, Dinosaurs, Mammals, Reptiles, Birds, Animals, Fossils, Extinction
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-11-27 08:47
last episode published
2019-11-26 05:43
publication frequency
44.0 days
Matt Borths and Adam Pritchard author  
Matthew Borths and Adam Pritchard owner  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Education Science & Medicine Natural Sciences



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Story of the Sloth

PAST TIME RETURNS! After three and a half months of discovering how insanely busy a museum curator can be, I (Adam) am back to past times with a brand new episode of Past Time! Join me on a journey back to the Smithsonian Institution to learn about the...
mrmanager author

Episode 32 – The Changing Face of Crocodiles

Episode 32 – The Changing Face of Crocodiles INTRODUCTION TO GROWING UP – Every living thing grows up, and this episode of “Past Time” explores the evolution of the growing process. Specifically, we explore the evolution of growth in crocodiles, and ho...
mrmanager author

First Frogs of the Age of Dinosaurs

THE FIRST FROGS OF NORTH AMERICA Every discovery we make in natural history happens thanks to specimens. Fossil bones, shells, footprints, coprolites, tissue samples—even field notes and photograms—are the building blocks scientists use to tell the sto...
mrmanager author

Episode 30 – SVP Recap, guest-starring I KNOW DINO

Meeting of the Minds There is no bigger paleontology conference for fans of dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals, birds, fishes, and reptiles than the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting. The 78th annual meeting just took place this October in ...
mrmanager author

Episode 29 – First of the Four-Footed Giant Dinosaurs!

Ledumahadi and the first dinosaur giants The sauropod dinosaurs—the classic long-necks—included the largest land animal species that have ever lived. Throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous, multiple families of sauropods achieved body masses over 50 to...
mrmanager author

Episode 28 – PAST TIME reviews Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom!

First Iteration I (Adam) am both proud and nervous to say that this is an atypical Past Time episode, as we’re not talking about a new discovery nor a real scientific topic; it is a recap/review of Jurassic World 2. However, I think it is worth address...
Adam Pritchard author

Episode 27 – Machairoceratops: An Extinct Horned Dinosaur Under Threat!

Eighty million years ago, a wildly ornamented species of horned dinosaur roamed the southern half of North America’s western landmass, Laramidia. In 2016, paleontologist Eric Lund and his colleagues named it Machairoceratops cronusi, and we fell in lov...
mrmanager author

Episode 26 – Colobops: the tiny reptile with a big bite!

Big bites come in small skulls This episode tells a story of one of Adam Pritchard’s favorite projects from Yale University, describing the skull of a teeny reptile from the early days of the Age of Reptiles. Hailing from the eastern coast of North Ame...
mrmanager author

Episode 25 – Ceratosaurs: Story of a Predatory Dinosaur Dynasty!

Masters of horns and teeth Throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods, dinosaurs were top dogs on every continent and in every sort of environment. The ceratosaurs were some of the classic predators that ruled the tops of the food chains for much o...
Adam Pritchard author

Episode 24 – Dinosaurs and crocodiles in the Land Before Egypt!

Egyptian paleontology has a long and storied history, although much of it is focused on discoveries from the Cenozoic Era. Incredible fossils of early whales, primates, and other mammals have been discovered in Egypt since the beginning of the twentiet...
Adam Pritchard author

Episode 23: Meet the Echinoderms! Adventures with Ancient Sea Stars!

This episode was a blast to produce for a vertebrate scientist. I learned a ton about the echinoderms, the group of invertebrate animals to which sea stars, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, and crinoids belong. Be prepared for more adventures...
Adam Pritchard author

Episode 22: Matheronodon, a new dinosaur with a different kind of bite!

Matheronodon is certainly a dinosaur worthy of a bigger bite. With proportionally giant teeth strikingly different from the standard-issue ornithopod dinosaur, it is certainly one of the most important dino discoveries out of Europe this year. Better y...
Adam Pritchard author

Episode 21: New History of Ancient DNA

The quest to recover ancient genetic material from extinct animals had its blockbuster moment when Jurassic Park came out. But where did the idea come from and who is trying to figure out if the science fiction of Jurassic Park can be science reality? ...
Matt Borths author

Episode 20: Digging the Dawn of Dinosaurs – Paleontology at Ghost Ranch

Hi all. Adam Pritchard here. I’ve been thinking about telling the story of my field experience in the Triassic-aged Chinle Formation of northern New Mexico for many years. The Hayden Quarry fossil site at Ghost Ranch has produced the best-preserved and...
Adam Pritchard author

Episode 19: Masrasector—Egypt’s Ancient Slicer!

A few weeks ago Past Time co-host Matt Borths published a study that identified a new species of now-extinct carnivorous mammal from Egypt. The animal was near the top of the African food chain when Africa was cut off from the other continents. It live...
Adam Pritchard author

Episode 18: The Bird Brains and the Dinosaur Expert

Catherine Early author

Episode 15: Kingdom of the Monkey Lizard!

Past Time is BACK! Matt and Adam have been traveling the world independently for some time, delving deeply into the history of life on the planet, but now they’re back to tell you all about what they’ve discovered!   In this episode, Matt interviews Ad...
Adam Pritchard author

A Food Chain in a Fossil: A snake skeleton with its prey still inside!

The relationship between predator and prey is a primal one, and one that fires the curiosity of many fossil fans. We love paintings of Tyrannosaurus battling Triceratops or saber-toothed cats leaping onto the backs of ground sloths. And we can be prett...
Adam Pritchard author

Grandma Sharkie: The Greenland Shark is the World’s Oldest Vertebrate Animal!

Growth is a universal facet of all organisms that have ever lived, but figuring out how old they grow isn’t always easy. A new study examined the growth in one of the biggest predatory fish in all the ocean, the Greenland Shark (Somniosus microcephalus...
Adam Pritchard author

A Tale of Two Crocs: Predators of Cretaceous Spain

I tried to google “crocodiles are living fossils,” to see just how commonly that expression was used in popular articles. There were indeed a few articles that referenced this idea, suggesting that croc fossils from 80 million years ago would look iden...
Adam Pritchard author

Episode 16: Hunting Antarctic Dinosaurs

Erik Gorscak and Pat O'Connor, two paleontologists from Ohio University, are about to set out on an expedition to Antarctica to hunt for fossils from the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. They are part of a larger team called the Antarctic Peninsula Paleont...
Matt Borths author

News Bite: Dodos and the evolution of bird brains

If you wander into the basement of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, and wander into the fossil collections, you will find a vast array of different dinosaurs dating back over 200 million years. However, just a few feet away fro...
Adam Pritchard author

News Bite: The evolution of ornithischian dinosaur jaws and bites!

With Past Time, Matt and I tend to focus on the new discoveries in paleontology: the new species that show up in the news, or the important specimens discovered in museum collections. These are the raw materials that feed the fires of paleontology as a...
Adam Pritchard author

Episode 15: Degrees of Doctoral Dissertation Domination

On this episode of Past Time, Drs. Matthew Borths and Adam Pritchard share their dissertation stories, and a bit of advice on the grad school experience!
Adam Pritchard author

News Bite: Kerberos! Giant mammal carnivore from after the Age of Dinosaurs!

It weighed twice as much as a modern wolf. It had three pairs of meat-slicing teeth. It was the first carnivorous land animal to reach 200 pounds on the entire continent of Europe after the extinction of the dinosaurs. And a team of European scientists...
Adam Pritchard author

News Bite: Salamanders of the Caribbean!

Arrr, ye mateys! Pour out some grog, and I’ll tell ye a tale of mines, beaches, and death in ancient jungles. I of course be talkin’…about salamanders! Okay, not going to do that voice the whole time (though maybe it should be in the episode), but I wi...
Adam Pritchard author

News Bite: Basilisks in the Old(er) West!

The oldest basilisk lizard from North America, described by Jack Conrad from NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine, shows the 48 million year old animal was part of an ancient lush jungle the middle of Wyoming. The beautifully preserved s...
Matt Borths author

News Bite: Genes and Jurassic Park

As Jurassic World rolls out, Matt has some thoughts on the scientific impact of Jurassic Park and offers his hopes for the scientific discussions Jurassic World might spark.
Matt Borths author

News Bite: Cosmic rays date ancient human ancestor

Dating fossils might sound like Saturday night for a paleontologist, but it’s serious science! In a new study, a group of physicists and paleontologists teamed up to re-date one of the most complete skeletons of a human relative ever discovered. The sk...
Matt Borths author

News Bite: Brontosaurus revived!

Brontosaurus was an extinct name for an extinct animal, but a new study brings the “Thunder Lizard” title roaring back to life! But how does a name get dropped, and how does it get brought back again? Follow us into the winding world of paleontology ta...
Matt Borths author

News Bite: Crazy croc diversity in the ancient Amazon!

In a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi and other paleontontologists described the crocodiles from a gigantic wetland that predated the Amazon. Ten million years ago there was the giant Purussarus, the duc...
Matt Borths author

Quick Bite: Clash of the Triassic Titans!

Under the canopy of an ancient fern forest near the border of Arizona and New Mexico a colossal crocodile-like reptile took a bite out of an even larger, toothy giant. The attack failed and the victim limped on to fight another day, until its carcass w...
Matt Borths author

News Bite: Parental care in extinct reptiles

A new fossil shows an ancient reptile, Philydrosaurus, surrounded by young. Possible evidence that parental investment is a more ancient trait in land-based vertebrates than paleontologists thought! Reptiles aren’t known for being great parents. When i...
Matt Borths author

News Bite: Giant dinosaur brain from Uzbekistan!

Researchers lead by Hans-Dieter Sues from the Smithsonian Institution described a wealth of new giant, long-necked dinosaur material from Western Asia (Uzbekistan). They were able to reconstruct what the brain looked like and discvered the dinosaur, pa...
Matt Borths author

Quick Bite: Iguanodon, History of a Dinosaur!

Iguanodon was discovered before the word "dinosaur" was invented and the story of Iguanodon research is the story of dinosaur research as paleontologists use new fossils to test old ideas about what the animal looked like and how it moved. Was it a lum...
Matt Borths author

Episode 14: The Art of Dinosaurs

To conjure up extinct environments, museums, books, and documentaries rely on art to show vanished animals revitalized in their ancient surroundings. This type of educational reconstruction is called Paleoart (or Palaeoart for the UK inclined) and you ...
Matt Borths author

Episode 13: Following in the Footsteps of Dinosaurs

When we think of paleontologists, we think of people hunkered down with bones, teeth, and shells studying the preserved body parts of dead organisms. But animals leave behind more than just their skeletons. As they walk they can leave behind footprints...
Matt Borths author

Episode 12: Growing up Dinosaur

When we think of iconic dinosaurs, like T. rex with its massive head full of teeth, and Parasaurolophus crowned with a gigantic, tube-like horn, we’re thinking of the features of adult dinosaurs. But we know from looking around today that animals chang...
Matt Borths author

Quick Bite: Weird Whales and Swimming Sloths

Marine mammals are fascinating beasts. Whales, manatees, seals, otters...they've all gone back to the water and in the process evolved all kinds of spectacular adaptations to make a living in a soggy setting. Toothed evolved an ability to “see” the und...
Matt Borths author

Episode 11: Trilobites and the Cincinnati Sea

Over 400 million years ago the oceans were teeming with life, but it didn’t look much like what you see at the aquarium or in Finding Nemo. Instead of colorful fish flitting through coral reefs, the ancient seas had giant, shelled squids darting past t...
Matt Borths author

Quick Bite: From Terror Bird to Gentle Giant

50 million-years ago, the heir to Tyrannosaurus stalked the forests of ancient Europe and North America, snapping up the tiny ancestors of horses, cows, and wolves in its colossal meat-cleaving beak. Gastornis was a six-foot-tall, flightless bird and t...
Matt Borths author

Quick Bite: The Alien Turtle and Ancient Color

Meet Alienochelys selloumi, a giant, snorkel-nosed turtle with powerful, shell-crushing plates in its massive beak! The distant relative of the largest turtle alive today, the leatherback sea turtle, Alienochelys swam the ancient ocean of North Africa ...
Matt Borths author

Episode 10: The Hobbit– An Unexpected Discovery

Little people! Giant reptiles! Towering elephants! Huge birds! It sounds like the stuff of literary and box-office gold, but this Middle-Earth-like world actually existed 17,000 years ago on Flores, an island near Indonesia. Homo floresiensis, or "The ...
Matt Borths author

Quick Bite: The Giant Before the Tyrant!

Last episode we featured Lythronax, the oldest-known North American tyrannosaur and a close relative of Tyrannosaurus rex. But tyrannosaurs weren’t the only big carnivores to tromp through the Mesozoic of North America. Before the tyrant lizards were h...
Matt Borths author

Episode 9: New Relatives of Tyrannosaurus rex!

Tyrannosaurus rex is a dinosaur celebrity, a villain in most dinosaur movies and documentaries, but where did the massive beast come from? On November 6, 2013, a team of paleontologists including our expert in this episode, Dr. Randy Irmis from the Uni...
Matt Borths author

Episode 8: Crocodiles are the Chomping Champions

Fossils are the raw materials of paleontology, but if we want to know how an animal moved or ate, paleontologists, like Dr. Paul Gignac, need to study living animals, too. Dr. Gignac studies crocodylians, measuring their bite forces across species and ...
Matt Borths author

Episode 7: Walking through Whale Evolution

Whales are spectacularly specialized mammals that seem perfectly adapted to their marine habitat. Plenty of other mammals have gone back to the water, but whales take it to a whole new level. No back legs, weird ear bones, noses on top of the head. Wha...
Matt Borths author

Quick Bite: New Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs!

Mammals were scrambling around during the Age of Dinosaurs and they're usually seen as small, shrew-like animals waiting for their chance to become diverse. But recent research, including three new fossils discovered in 160 million-year-old rocks from ...
Matt Borths author

Episode 6: Tiny Horses, Galloping Crocs, and Fossilized Jungles!

The fossil record is pretty patchy. Most discoveries are tooth fragments, chunks of shell, or isolated slivers of bone and paleontologists are trained to eke out as much information from these precious fragments as they can. But some fossil deposits pr...
Matt Borths author

Episode 5: Throwing in Human Evolution

Humans are weird animals. We walk around on two legs, we have big brains...and we like to throw things at each other. Did all this happen in a gradual march to Homo sapiens? In this episode of Past Time, Adam and Matt talk to Dr. Susan Larson, an exper...
Matt Borths author