Ichthyosaurs are large marine reptiles that existed for most of the Mesozoic Era. The most familiar forms superficially represent dolphins, but some earlier ichthyosaurs were more eel like. They could attain huge proportions, with some genera reaching up to 21m long. They were active predators feeding on belemnite, fishes and even other marine reptiles!

In this episode, we talk to Dr Ben Moon and Fiann Smithwick, researchers at the University of Bristol, UK. Both have recently been involved in producing a documentary with the BBC entitled ‘Attenborough and the Sea Dragon’, so we have used this as an opportunity to discuss in great detail what ichthyosaurs are and get insights into the kind of work required to produce such a documentary.

Direct download: Ep85.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm UTC

In this episode, we interview Dr Leigh Anne Riedman, University of California, about life during the Neoproterozoic Era, the most recent of the Precambrian Eon. This time interval is far from straight forward; not only were there changes in oceanic and atmospheric chemistry,  but also dramatic shifts in climate and the formation and subsequent rifting of the supercontinent Rodinia. The Neoproterozoic also saw major biological innovations and ended with the appearance of the enigmatic Ediacaran Fauna.

Leigh Anne studies acritarchs, relatively simple, single-celled walled microorganisms and by examining their diversity and abundance, she is able to comment on how life fared during this turbulent time.

Direct download: Ep84.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:41pm UTC