Ichnology is the study of trace fossils (also termed ichnofossils). Opposed to body fossils, the physical remains of an organism, trace fossils are the fossilised interactions between an organism and the substrate/sediment and include such things as trackways, excrement, burrows, bite marks and borings. Both body fossils and trace fossils are important when studying an organism and especially so in determining palaeoecology (how an organism interacted with its immediate environment). Body fossils can only inform us of the anatomy of the dead organism and its physical constraints, from which we can infer modes of life. Trace fossils, on the other hand, record the activity of organisms in life; it can be possible to see evidence of how certain communities functioned, or how an organism interacted with its environment. However one draw back is that the producer of a trace fossil is not always known, or we can't be certain that any one organism produced a specific trace.

In this first of a two-part episode, we speak to Prof. Anthony Martin from Emory Euniversity, USA, all about trace fossils, why they are important and how they can be used.

Direct download: Ep14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

Every palaeontologist needs to put their feet up once in a while, and what better place to do so that the Best Western Denver Southwest? This hotel is located just a stone's-throw away from Dinosaur Ridge, one of the world's most famous fossil sites. It was here that many of the house-hold dinosaur names such as Apatosaurus (formerly Brontosaurus) and Stegosaurus were first discovered during the 'Bone Wars' between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh in the late 19th century. The hotel is currently being re-branded, by science-advocate owners Greg and Meredith Tally, as a celebration of the rich paleontological history of the local area, both recent and ancient. Museum displays, fossil replicas and even a swimming pool shaped like the Western Interior Seaway are all planned, not only to excite the inner-child in each of us, but also to educate. We managed to catch up with Greg and Meredith, on a break from the construction, to talk all about their designs and the inspiration behind their re-branding, a story that strangely begins with Physicist Nicolai Tesla and a cartoon on

Direct download: Ep13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13am UTC