• Cambrian
  • Ordovician Pentecopterus image horizontal
  • Carboniferous EdaphosaurusDB
  • Cambrian JV1
  • Cambrian THUMBNAIL
  • Cenozoic EncrustedStrophodont1
  • Cenozoic Fig 3
  • Cambrian 1280px-Rhynchotremadentatum

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.


Feeding and the digestive system in early animals

Published on October 29th, 2015 | by Liz Martin

Two new studies lead by University of Bristol palaeontologist Dr. Imran Rahman (Episode 28 – From worms to stars) are helping to explain feeding and the digestive system in some early animals. His work focuses on [&hellip... Read More


Pentecopterus image horizontal

Episode 51: Eurypterids

Published on September 1st, 2015 | by Dave Marshall

Eurypterids, or ‘sea-scorpions’ are an extinct group of chelicerates: the group containing the terrestrial arachnids (such as spiders and scorpions) and the aquatic ‘merostomes’ (represented today solely by the horseshoe crabs). They bear a gross-morphological resemblance [&hellip... Read More



Episode 49: Synapsids

Published on July 31st, 2015 | by Dave Marshall

Synapsids are one of the major groups of terrestrial vertebrates. They first appear in the Carboniferous period and since that time have gone through many radiation and extinction events. But what did these first stem-mammals look [&hellip... Read More



Episode 48: The Burgess Shale

Published on July 17th, 2015 | by Dave Marshall

The Burgess Shale is probably the world’s most famous lagerstätte (site of special preservation). Discovered in 1909 on Mt. Stephen, in the Canadian Rockies of British Colombia, Canada, this locality provided an early representation of the [&hellip... Read More



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



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


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



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


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


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

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