Palaeo After Dark

A group of fresh faced scientists have biweekly informal discussions about evolutionary biology and palaeontology... over beer.

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A group of fresh faced scientists have biweekly informal discussions about evolutionary biology and palaeontology... over beer.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-03-17 18:50
last episode published
2019-03-17 07:00
publication frequency
13.72 days
James Lamsdell, Amanda Falk, and Curtis Congreve author  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Science & Medicine Natural Sciences



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Podcast 158 - Is Eevee a Mammal?

The gang celebrates their 6th anniversary by taking some time to talk about two papers about early mammal ecology. The first paper looks at some unique traces left by Mesozoic mammals, while the second paper attempts to determine how early mammals migh...

Podcast 157 - A Sticky Situation; More Talk of Vertebrates in Amber

The gang discusses two papers about the interesting vertebrate remains in Myanmar amber, including a neonate snake and an Enantiornithean bird, and discuss the ecological and evolutionary implications of these fossils. Meanwhile, Curt starts a terribl...

Podcast 156 - Never Underestimate the Little Snake

The gang discuss two papers that look at the links between morphology and ecology. Specifically, they discuss a fossil marine reptile with a very unique looking skull that gives clues to a possible “platypus” like life-habit. However, they also discuss...

Podcast 155 - But What Would It Taste Like

The gang discusses two papers that use fossil evidence to interpret physiology and functional morphology of extinct animals. First, we discuss a new study that suggests ichthyosaurs may have evolved blubber to help them regulate their temperatures. Sec...

Podcast 154 - Heyo Hyoliths

The gang gets together to record their first episode back from the holidays. And what better topic to discuss than hyoliths, those strange shelly Cambrian fossils. Specifically, the gang discusses two papers that look at new discoveries of the soft tis...

Podcast 153 - Holiday Self Care Spectacular

At the end of a long year, the gang takes a moment to reflect on the various strategies they use to try and keep themselves sane when things get stressful. So please join us as we discuss the joys of knitting, painting, and unconventional youtube video...

Podcast 152 - Community Reboot

The gang looks over two older review papers that are interested in communities and trophic disruption. What is important in keeping communities together and how can stable systems become destabilized? They use these two review papers as a general jumpi...

Podcast 151 - New Discoveries, Dickinsonia and Sauropodomorphs

The gang discusses two papers that use new findings to upend some of our previous interpretations of fossil taxa. First, they talk about the new biogeochemical studies that suggest the odd disc-shaped Ediacaran organism, Dickinsonia, might be the first...

Podcast 150 - Podcasting About the Big Boys

The gang gets together to discuss two papers that are sort of… kind of… very loosely held together by… size? First, they discuss a paper looking at size biases in our current biodiversity crisis and comparing it to our past extinction events. Is the pr...

Podcast 149 - GSA 2018

Come and join us for an extra length episode where we discuss the talks we saw during the 2018 Geological Society of America Meeting at Indianapolis. Day 2 starts at 0:35:09, Day 3 starts at 2:04:36, and Day 4 starts at 3:28:07.

Podcast 148 - Pterosaur Pelvises

The gang discusses two papers that use the pelvis and spine material from pterosaur fossils to infer locomotion of these extinct flying archosaurs, Specifically, we talk about how muscle attachment structures as well as channels within the bones can be...

Podcast 147 - Otters and Sharks and Wolves Oh My

The gang returns to one of their favorite pet topics, food! This week, we discuss two papers that investigate what different animals are eating. Specifically, we focus on a paper that uses fossil data to infer the feeding strategies of extinct giant ot...

Podcast 146 - Not All Insects Are in Amber

The gang discusses two papers that look at our amazing fossil insect record. One of these studies looks at preserved fly pupae and shows some unexpected evidence of parasitism. The other study tries to understand the properties of tree sap that allows ...

Podcast 145 - Bones and Hard Parts

The gang discusses two papers that deal with the origins of biomineralization (how living things make hard minerals to serve as skeletal structures). Specifically, we look at one paper focused on the origins of bone and a second paper focusing on some ...

Podcast 144 - Return to the Sea

The gang discusses two papers that investigate the ways that tetrapods return to the sea. It's another opportunity for Amanda talk at length about her favorite topic, CONVERGENCE. Meanwhile, James has ideas about "moral fortitude", Curt makes slightly ...

Podcast 143 - Squamate Talk

Well, it has finally come to this. After almost 150 episodes under our belts, we've finally produced a podcast where almost no one read any of the papers. This episode was supposed to be about squamate (lizards and snakes) evolution. In particular, we ...

Podcast 142 - The LDG

The gang discusses two papers that look at the origins of the latitudinal diversity gradient, the tendency for higher species diversity in the tropics and lower diversity closer to the poles. Specifically, these studies use comprehensive phylogenetic a...

Podcast 141 - Save the Weasels

The gang discusses two papers that look at the effects of climate change on cold adapted species, as well as the possibility of evolutionary rescue as a means of preserving this biodiversity. Also, it gives them all a great excuse to just talk about we...

Podcast 140 - Staying on Ecomorphic Brand

The gang returns to a favorite topic, the link between morphology and ecology. Specifically, they look at two studies that use the morphology of ammonites and early fish as a proxy for ecological complexity. Also, James enjoy controlling giant robots, ...

Podcast 139 - Whales and Birds Suck

The gang discusses two papers on suction feeding among tetrapods, the process by which animals take in water to pull food into their mouths. Specifically they look at two papers showing suction feeding strategies in fossil whales and in modern auks. Me...

Podcast 138 - Cambrian Food

The gang discuss two papers that use various lines of evidence to try to determine what Cambrian animals (particularly trilobites) might have eaten. Which of these animals were detritivores or coprophagous, and which animals might have been active pred...

Podcast 137 - Sloth vs Sloth

The gang discuss several papers that detail the changes necessary for a terrestrial tetrapod to  transition into aquatic marine lifestyle. They focus on two examples, fossil sloths and fossil crocodyliforms. Also, James discusses some unconventional fo...

Podcast 136 - The Haunted Podcast Returns

The gang discusses coprolites (fossil feces) and the interesting information that we can glean from them. Specifically, they talk about two papers which look at moa coprolites from New Zealand to determine aspects of the New Zealand ecology before huma...

Podcast 135 - Competing Convergences

The gang discusses a few papers that illustrate how different evolutionary processes can generate very similar morphological structures. Yes, we're talking about convergence again. But this time, things get kind of weird in the second half. Meanwhile, ...

Podcast 134 - Training Fish in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber

The gang discusses two papers that look how the environmental stresses caused from warming temperatures can affect fish. Specifically, we look at a paleontological study focusing on the Permian and Late-Triassic extinctions (often considered to be runa...

Podcast 133 - Long-Standing Pathologies

The gang discusses the various ways that injuries and diseases can be preserved in the fossil record, as well as the information these pathologies can give us on ancient biodiversity and behavior. Also, Amanda is coerced into accepting a delivery, Jame...

Podcast 132 - We've Been Doing This For Five Years

The gang spends their 5th anniversary podcast discussing the evolution and distribution of early tetrapods. So basically, we messed up. But at least you can enjoy some insightful discussions about how to improve Sabrina the Teenage Witch. That's someth...

Podcast 131 - Would Sauropod Ribs Be Tasty?

The gang discusses two papers that look at the complex evolutionary history of sauropod dinosaurs. In particular, these papers try to determine how sauropods geography might have affected their evolutionary history. Also, James learns some valuable les...

Podcast 130 - Trace Fossil Diversity is Over 9000

The gang discusses two papers that use ichnology (the study of traces left by animals) as evidence for biological diversity in regions where body fossils are not preserved. Also, Amanda and James have a vigorous debate about nouns while Curt retreats t...

Podcast 129 - Curt Made Us Talk About Exaptation

The gang discuss a recent paper which suggests that pollinating butterflies and moths may have evolved well before the evolution of flowering plants (angiosperms). Curt seizes this opportunity to force them all to read about exaptation. Meanwhile, Jame...

Podcast 128 - Conservation Paleoecology

The gang talks about conservation paleoecology; the study of the fossil record to inform modern conservation efforts. Specifically, they look at two papers, one which is an overview of the current issues in the field, and the other which focuses on how...

Podcast 127 - Let's Just Talk About Birds

The gang celebrates the new year by just talking about birds. Specifically, they look at two papers that use the evolutionary history of birds to explore if geographic changes or ecological adaptation controlled the macroevolutionary history of birds. ...

Podcast 126 - The People of Minneapolis VS The Alchemist

The gang celebrates the end of the year by taking another break to play Fiasco, a crime/noir storytelling game by Bully Pit Games. A lone figure stands on the rooftops, staring down at the quiet night streets of Minneapolis below. For a moment, the her...

Podcast 125 - Feeling Isolated; Biogeography and Evolution

The gang discusses two papers that investigate the impact that the geographic occupation of a species has on its evolution, both in the distant past and in modern systems. Also, James pops some pills, Amanda takes a deep dive into Deviant Art, and Curt...

Podcast 124 - A Second Opinion

The gang discusses two papers that complicate our understanding of some important fossils. Specifically, we focus on abiotic "stromatolites" and cryptic tool marks on bones. Also, Curt comes up with a book title, James discusses his workout regiment, a...

Podcast 123 - Periodicity of Extinction

The gang discusses two papers with differing opinions about whether or not extinction events in the fossil record follow a periodic pattern. Also, James is dealing with very reputable people, Curt forces people to talk about things they don't care abou...

Podcast 122 - GSA 2017; We Have a Fridge

James and Curt are joined by friends of the show Brendan and Carlie to discuss the talks presented at the Geological Society of American annual meeting in Seattle, WA. Day 2 starts at 1:12:43. Day 3 starts at 3:05:06. Day 4 starts at 3:59:34. Videos of...

Podcast 121 - Reconstructing the Niche

The gang discusses two papers that use fossil evidence to determine the past ecology and niche-space of past organisms, specifically dodos and hyenas. How can we use information from bones to interpret diet, life cycle, and behaviors of long dead anima...

Podcast 120 - Something Something Convergence

The gang discusses two papers that deal with different examples of convergence. The first discusses how brood parasite female cuckoos mimic birds of prey, and the second paper discusses convergent morphological evolution in early tetrapodomorph fishes....

Podcast 119 - Dimorphic Dinosaurs

The gang discusses two papers that look at the complex issues surrounding the identification of sexual dimorphism in archosaurs (e.g. birds, dinosaurs, and alligators/crocodiles). Meanwhile, James has very strong opinions about Fat Tire beer, Amanda be...

Podcast 118 - Dealing with Problematica

The gang discuss two papers that attempt to resolve the taxonomic placement of animals with complex or confusing morphologies. Also, they somehow go off on a tangent about careers in academia, publish or perish, and the various lengths people can go to...

Podcast 117 - Hero Terrapins and Fighting Frogs

The gang discuss two papers that study how the geographic ranges of turtles and frogs changed through time, and how these changes affected their ecology and evolution. Also, James drinks what he presumes is ground horse, Curt goes full Ian Malcolm, Ama...

Podcast 116 - Changing Relationships; Dinosaurs and Marsupials

The gang discuss two papers that offer new evidence which re-contextualizes our understanding of the evolutionary history of two important Mesozoic groups, dinosaurs and marsupials. Meanwhile, Amanda comes up with a terrible/great new idea for liquor c...

Podcast 115 - Amanda Now Wants Tiny Whales to be a Thing

The gang discuss two papers that discuss the methods we use to determine how different things are from each (i.e. disparity). In particular, do variations in parts of an animal give us a good sample of the morphological variability of the total animal?...

Podcast 114 - Trilobites; Mice of the Paleozoic

The gang discuss two papers that describe the life strategies of trilobites, a diverse and charismatic group of extinct arthropods. Specifically, they look at two papers that look at enrollment and movement of trilobites. Meanwhile, Amanda educates Jam...

Podcast 113 - What's In a Bauplan

The gang discuss the concept of the body plan, or "bauplan", and what it means for our understanding of evolution. When in the evolutionary history of a group do the morphological characteristics we associate with that group become fixed? Meanwhile, Am...

Podcast 112 - How Specialized Are Specialists?

The gang discuss two papers that use biogeochemical evidence to determine the diets of two specialist species. Just how restricted are the diets of these species? Meanwhile, Amanda finds a new pet she desperately needs, James copes with a changing envi...

Podcast 111 - Giant Killer Birds

The gang discusses two papers that use fossil evidence to determine how terror birds moved. Were they lumbering giants or fast sprinters? Also, James gets metaphysical, Curt unabashedly likes old Tim Burton films, Amanda doesn't appreciate science that...

Podcast 110 - Maneater

The gang discuss two papers that show how diet can impact stress, strain, and wear patterns of the tooth and jaw, specifically on therizinosaur dinosaurs and lions. Also, James mistakes cats for people, Amanda makes the second worse joke of the podcast...

Podcast 109 - Dead Squids and Graptolites

In this episode, the gang discusses two papers that use modern decay experiments to determine how decay can affect our understanding of the evolution of two groups, Coleoidea and Graptolithina. Are there certain structures or behaviors that make these ...