Browsing the "Paleozoic" Category

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.

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 48: The Burgess Shale

Published on July 17th, 2015 | by David 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


Cambrian

Episode 47: Lobopodians

Published on June 29th, 2015 | by David 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

Episode 46: Understanding Biodiversity

Published on June 15th, 2015 | by Liz Martin-Silverstone

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

Episode 41: Insects

Published on March 1st, 2015 | by David 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

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 36: Emu Bay Shale

Published on November 1st, 2014 | by David 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

Episode 35: Ostracods

Published on October 16th, 2014 | by David 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

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

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


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