Fri, 15 January 2016
One of the most difficult aspects of palaeontology is understanding how extinct animals moved around. It’s one thing to find a fossil and reconstruct it’s morphology, but it’s completely another to put that morphology into action and understand the locomotion or behaviour. One reason for this is because of the lack of soft tissue and muscles. The field of biomechanics can help with this by looking at the actual physics of these structures to help understand things like the forces exerted on the bones or tendons of an animal.
Professor John Hutchinson of the Royal Veterinary College of the University of London is an expert in biomechanics of both living and extinct vertebrates. He has worked on many aspects of the tetrapod tree including early tetrapods up to birds. This episode focuses on how we can use biomechanics to understand locomotion in extinct animals, including dinosaurs, early tetrapods, and how modern animals relate to this question.
Fri, 1 January 2016
The Wealden Supergroup of southern England is known for it's Cretaceous fossils, particularly of dinosaurs, but also crocodilians, pterosaurs, lizards, invertebrates, and plants. The group represents the Early Cretaceous, and is well known for showing us the environment of this time period, which is not well-represented in many other places in the world. It has been essential in helping to understand this time. Large body fossils are known, but also small microvertebrate sites, and even footprints and foot casts.
Dr Darren Naish, a research associate at the University of Southampton and known for his blog Tetrapod Zoology has worked significantly with fossils from the Wealden Group, including dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and marine reptiles. In this episode, we talk about the importance of the Wealden Group, focusing on the large diversity of dinosaurs found here.