We can observe colour to be highly important for animals today. It can be used for many different purposes, including camouflage and signalling, and produced by many different methods. What is true of colouration today is also likely to have been so in the past, however the fossilisation process replaces tissues with minerals, so finding hints of colour in fossils is very unlikely. There are however certain colour producing structures that can survive the fossilisation process. We visit the University of Bristol to talk to Maria McNamara, a post-doctoral research assistant, to learn more about the preservation of colour in the fossil record.

Direct download: Ep7.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:14pm UTC

Vertebrates are one of the most diverse and successful groups of animals on the planet.  Modern vertebrates come in an astounding array of sizes and shapes and can be found anywhere from the deepest oceans to the highest mountains.  Yet vertebrates did not attain such success from the outset; their rise to dominance was gradual. The early evolution of vertebrates was a dynamic and, at times, a turbulent interval which, through studying the fossil record, we are able to understand in increasing detail.  We talk to Dr Lauren Sallan, who is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan studying early vertebrate evolution, biodiversity and ecology.

Direct download: Ep6.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC