Browsing the "Carboniferous" Category

The Carboniferous period is a division of earth’s history spanning from around 359 to 299 million years ago, and during which vast deposits of coal were formed across much of the world. The Early carboniferous enjoyed a warm climate with an atmosphere significantly richer in oxygen and CO2 than at present. In the oceans, corals, echinoderms and bivalves flourished, as did the planktonic single celled foraminifera. Sharks also began to diversify. On land, giant arthropods, such as the dragonfly-like Meganeura which grew over 70cm long, inhabited vast forests. Amphibians became an important part of land-based ecosystems and some also grew to enormous sizes. The earliest reptiles are known from this period. The Late Carboniferous suffered a significant drop in global temperatures and is characterised by glaciations, a global collapse of rainforests and a 100m drop in sea level.

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Is the Tully Monster a Vertebrate after all?

Published on February 20th, 2017 | by David Marshall

Tullimonstrum gregarium, the ‘Tully Monster’, is an enigmatic fossil from the Late Carboniferous Mazon Creek lagerstätte, Illinois, USA. This soft-bodied animal is instantly recognisable by its ‘torpedo-shaped’ body ending in a tail; its long, elbowed, proboscis [&hellip... Read More


Carboniferous

Episode 71: Graptolites

Published on October 15th, 2016 | by Laura Soul

Graptolites are small colonial organisms, each made up of many tiny, genetically identical zooids joined together by tubes. They’ve been around since the Cambrian and at times in Earth’s history have been very morphologically and taxonomically [&hellip... Read More


Carboniferous

Episode 67: Blue Beach Tetrapods

Published on July 22nd, 2016 | by Liz Martin-Silverstone

Blue Beach is a locality in Nova Scotia, Canada that is well known for it’s fossils from the Lower Carboniferous. In particular, it is significant for being one of few sites in the world that has [&hellip... Read More


Carboniferous

Episode 63: Return of the Tully Monster

Published on April 13th, 2016 | by David Marshall

Science is a process and so the door to the revision and refinement of hypotheses must always be left open. From the research discussed in our last episode, the newspapers would have you believe that the [&hellip... Read More


Carboniferous

Episode 62: The Tully Monster

Published on March 18th, 2016 | by David Marshall

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 [&hellip... Read More


Cambrian

Feeding and the digestive system in early animals

Published on October 29th, 2015 | by Liz Martin-Silverstone

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


Carboniferous

Episode 49: Synapsids

Published on July 31st, 2015 | by David 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


Cambrian

Episode 40: Brachiopods

Published on February 1st, 2015 | by David 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

Episode 29: Medusae

Published on June 1st, 2014 | by David 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


Carboniferous

Episode 22: Fire and Charcoal

Published on October 15th, 2013 | by David Marshall

Most people would consider fire to be an entirely destructive process, however given the right circumstances organic materials can be exquisitely preserved by charcoalification. We no doubt all know charcoal from the BBQ, but how many of [&hellip... Read More


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