The shape of an animal is a reflection of the way it interacts with the physical world around it. By studying the mechanical laws which influence the evolution of modern animals, we can better understand the lives of their ancestors. Hydrodynamics examines the movement of water in contact with an organism, and can include everything from body shape to blood flow. In this episode we spoke to Dr Tom Fletcher, University of Leicester, about hydrodynamics in palaeontology, and his research looking at fossil fishes and modern sharks. Tom and others have published a paper on the hydrodynamics of fossil fishes, and he continues to work on the biomechanics of fossil animals.


Direct download: Ep76.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am UTC

Palaeontology is a constantly evolving field; when new methods and techniques are invented, they allow us to revisit old fossils and test our previous observations and hypotheses. Recently, an exciting new method called ‘Laser-Simulated Fluorescence’ (LSF) has been gaining popularity in palaeontology and we speak to its inventor Tom Kaye during a visit to the University of Bristol, alongside Dr Michael Pittman, Research Assistant Professor, The University of Hong Kong.

In this episode, we hear all about how LSF is allowing fossils to be seen under a completely new light. We discuss how the fluorescence is produced, how it’s currently being used and what possible applications it might have in future.

Direct download: Ep75.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:17pm UTC