It's been quite a week for lobopodians!

First off, we've had the redescription of Hallucigenia by Dr Martin Smith. This enigmatic fossil from the Burgess Shale typifies the difficulty palaeontologists have had in interpreting some of the earliest animals in the fossil record. It has famously been reconstructed upside-down and is now shown to also have been back-to-front too! Dr Smith joins us to tell us about the observations, including some new anatomical characters, that put an end to the uncertainty of the orientation of this animal.

Secondly, there's a older and more heavily-armoured lobopodian from the early Cambrian Xiaoshiba biota of China that we've got the exclusive on. Collinsium ciliosum is described today and we're also joined by one of the lead authors Dr Javier Ortega-­Hernández.

Direct download: Ep47.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm UTC

The world is currently undergoing a massive biodiversity crisis, and many people have said that we are in the next major mass extinction event, with species going extinct each day. Unfortunately, we don't currently understand what aspects control biodiversity, and how the past can help us understand the present and the future.

Associate Professor Lindsey Leighton of the University of Alberta discusses his work combining research of modern invertebrate marine fauna related to biodiversity and ecosystems with studies of the fossil record in order to further understand this problem.

Direct download: Ep46.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am UTC

The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction was the latest of the 'big five' events. Approximately 75% of species went extinct, with the most notable victims being non-avian dinosaurs. But what happened afterwards? By which methods were some of the survivors able to spread to fill vacant niches?

The University of Bath's Dr Nick Longrich joins us to hypothesise about the dispersal mechanism of a very unusual group of ground-dwelling predatory reptiles called amphisbaenians (worm lizards).

Direct download: Ep45.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:44pm UTC