• Cambrian THUMBNAIL
  • Cenozoic EncrustedStrophodont1
  • Cenozoic Fig 3
  • Cambrian 1280px-Rhynchotremadentatum
  • Cambrian 01 - Buck Quarry near Emu Bay
  • Cenozoic Living ostracods
  • Cambrian A briggsi holotype
  • Cambrian animal-21649_640

The Paleozoic era, meaning “ancient life”, is a division of earth’s history spanning from around 541 to 252 million years ago. It is subdivided into the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous and Permian periods. The beginning of the Paleozoic is characterised by the sudden appearance of animal ecosystems following the extinction of the Precambrian Ediacaran fauna. The end of the Paleozoic is marked by the greatest mass extinction in earth’s history, following which global ecosystems were radically reorganised.

Cambrian

THUMBNAIL

Episode 47: Lobopodians

Published on June 29th, 2015 | by Dave Marshall

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 [&hellip... Read More


Cenozoic

EncrustedStrophodont1

Episode 46: Understanding Biodiversity

Published on June 15th, 2015 | by Liz Martin

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 [&hellip... Read More


Cenozoic

Fig 3

Episode 41: Insects

Published on March 1st, 2015 | by Dave Marshall

Insects are the most abundant and diverse group on animals on the planet today. Would they therefore also be expected to have the richest fossil record? When did they first evolve and how rapid was their [&hellip... Read More


Cambrian

1280px-Rhynchotremadentatum

Episode 40: Brachiopods

Published on February 1st, 2015 | by Dave Marshall

Brachiopods are some of the most common fossils to be found in rocks worldwide. Their thick, hard and (often) calcareous shells make them preferentially preserved in the fossil record. We probably all have found one, but [&hellip... Read More


Cambrian

01 - Buck Quarry near Emu Bay

Episode 36: Emu Bay Shale

Published on November 1st, 2014 | by Dave Marshall

The Emu Bay shale is a Burgess Shale-type lagerstätte from the Early Cambrian of South Australia. We speak to Dr John Paterson, of the University of New England, all about the locality and the fossils it [&hellip... Read More


Cenozoic

Living ostracods

Episode 35: Ostracods

Published on October 16th, 2014 | by Dave Marshall

Ostracods are tiny crustaceans (relatives of shrimps, crabs and water-fleas), distinguished by having a shell that is easily fossilised. As microfossils, by virtue of a long and rich fossil record, ostracods are extremely useful for determining [&hellip... Read More


Cambrian

A briggsi holotype

Episode 31: Anomalocaridids

Published on July 15th, 2014 | by Laura Soul

Anomalocaridids are iconic Cambrian animals, originally found in the Burgess Shale deposits in Canada. From the Genus Anomalocaris, their name translates as ‘strange shrimp’ owing to their initial misidentification from incomplete remains. In fact, it took until [&hellip... Read More


Cambrian

animal-21649_640

Episode 29: Medusae

Published on June 1st, 2014 | by Dave Marshall

One of the longest-ranging and outwardly primitive-looking groups of animals on the planet are the Medusozoa. In consisting of around 95% water, it may be surprising to know that there is a fossil record of jellyfish, [&hellip... Read More


Cambrian

Starfish

Episode 28: From worms to stars

Published on May 1st, 2014 | by Joe Keating

Echinoderms are characterised by a mineralised skeleton, specialised water vascular system and five-fold symmetry. It is this unusual body plane symmetry that gives the starfish its star-shape. None of these features, however, are possessed by the closest [&hellip... Read More


Cenozoic

Dried fish

Episode 23: Mass extinctions

Published on December 1st, 2013 | by Dave Marshall

What are Mass extinctions, how are they quantified, what are the driving forces behind them, how bad were the ones in the past and will we have more in the future? To answer these questions we [&hellip... Read More


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