Episode 62: The Tully Monster
Tullimonstrum gregarium, better known as the ‘Tully Monster’ is a problematic fossil from the Late Carboniferous Mazon Creek lagerstätte, Illinois, USA. The identity of this fossil has been the subject of much debate, due to its peculiar form. Several competing hypotheses have placed it within the arthropods, fish, worms or even molluscs.
Joining us in this interview is Dr Victoria McCoy whose work at Yale University (recently published in Nature) was able to demonstrate that the Tully Monster belonged to a different group entirely.
Direct download: Ep62.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:25pm UTC

Episode 61: WitmerLab

Dr. Larry Witmer’s lab at Ohio University studies the anatomy of modern animals to make interpretations regarding the functional morphology of extinct vertebrates. WitmerLab incorporates anatomical studies with cutting-edge technology, allowing for the reconstructions of soft-tissue structures no longer present in fossils (including respiratory apparatuses, brains, and inner ears). These reconstructions allow Dr. Witmer and his students to study the original physiology, biomechanics, and evolutionary adaptations of creatures long extinct.

Direct download: Ep61.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:03pm UTC

Diet is perhaps the most important aspect of ecology. As such, understanding the diet of extinct animals is crucial if we wish to reconstruct the ecosystems of the past. However, determining what was on the menu for extinct animals, known only from fragmentary fossils, is far from straight forward. We spoke to Dr David Button, from the University of Birmingham, to learn about the techniques palaeontologists use to deduce diet from fossils.

Direct download: Ep60.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:02pm UTC