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15 August 2022
Five books get the Callan mini-review treatment: two novels from Amor Towles, an account of life in prison under solitary confinement, a history of Virginia slavery during the War of 1812, and finally a family account of the discovery of the fossil Hesperornis, a toothed bird, and various associated tangents.
8 July 2022
Hans Sues is a fossil guy at the Smithsonian. Born in Germany, he has been all over the world finding and interpreting fossils for more than 40 years. His focus is on vertebrates – both in his professional work and his personal attachment to cats.
17 June 2022
The Cambrian explosion is commonly labelled as the time in Earth’s history when animals suddenly appear. But research from geoscientist Rachel Wood and her team turns this explanation on its head.
10 June 2022
When you hear the word “extinction,” chances are you probably think of the extinction of the dinosaurs and a big rock. But did you know that there were other factors at play that lead to that extinction including volcanos and sea-level rise?
3 June 2022
Join us for our next six-part miniseries on Extinctions as we learn about the demise of the dinosaurs, what makes a comet “extinct,” the Cambrian and Triassic periods, volcanoes, and the aforementioned (planned) fiery end of the International Space Station!
28 October 2020
In this episode, the second in a two-part series, we chatted with Rodrigo Salvador, Curator of Invertebrates at the Museum of New Zealand, about the connections between giant squids and the Kraken, and Danielle J. Serratos, Director/Curator of the Fundy Geological Museum, about the links between prehistoric aquatic reptiles and the Loch Ness monster, respectively.
26 October 2020
We’ve all heard stories about fantastical creatures that people swear they’ve seen and have evidence of but can never be confirmed. Think Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. Mermaids or the Kraken. While there’s no evidence backing the existence of these creatures, either in present day or at any point in the past, there must be a reason why such legends were created in the first place. In most cases, the legend in grounded in fact.
1 April 2020
Kim Cobb loves being out in the field. She talks about the euphoria and passion she has for it, saying “It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced literally, and I’ve given birth to four children.”
4 November 2019
Scientists have been testing whether life exists on Mars for over 40 years, ever since the Viking 1 lander touched down on the Red Planet. Researchers often perform experiments on Earth to better understand the context of data collected by Viking 1 and subsequent landers – data that gives scientists tantalizing clues about the habitability of the Martian surface.
11 October 2019
A moderate mesoscale monocline at Watern Cove, Newfoundland, shows off multicellular animal fossils of the Ediacaran Mistaken Point Formation.
15 April 2019
In this centennial episode, she reveals the secrets of the mud, how humans may have weathered climate swings of the past, and what the past can tell us about our warming world.
3 April 2019
Here’s a cool little book about the paleobiology, ecology, and behavior of cephalopods: Squid Empire. The author, Danna Staaf, has a PhD in marine biology and –more importantly– a lifelong fascination with squid, octopuses, cuttlefish, and nautiloids. This work is a history of the cephalopod clade – going back into deep time, before the Cambrian Explosion, dwelling on ancestral forms and luxuriating in the ammonites (now sadly extinct — or …
2 April 2019
A book by Nick Pyenson (of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History) details the past, present, and future of whales. Combining paleontology, oceanography, environmental awareness, evolution, and history with personal stories of field work and insight, it’s a compelling tale of modern science on charismatic, mysterious creatures.
20 March 2019
A book review of Paige Williams’ “The Dinosaur Artist,” a tale of international trade in dinosaur skeletons.
18 March 2019
A virtual field trip to examine some deepwater clastic sediments shed off the first phase of Appalachian mountain building, and deformed in the third phase. It’s a lovely day for a field trip to the late Ordovician!
11 February 2019
When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Before Dinosaurs, by Hannah Bonner
It has been a while since I’ve reviewed any kids’ books here, but this one was so good that I just have to tell you about it. My son is now 6 and a half years old, and he’s interested in all sorts of natural history topics. Given that I’m a geologist, he’s probably more Earth-science-focused than the average kid, but my wife is a biologist, so he’s got plenty …
Check out this bonus clip from our most recent episode, Footprints from an Ancient World, where Renata Netto talks about what it’s like to be a woman in her field.
4 February 2019
Renata Netto spends a lot of time on beaches. The Brazilian scientist is an ichnologist, a specialist in the traces of ancient animal behaviors preserved in fossilized footprints, trackways, burrows, nests and other impressions.
19 December 2018
Here’s a kid’s book to consider for the holiday season: The 50 State Fossils: A Guidebook for Aspiring Paleontologists, written by Yinan Wang and illustrated by Jane Levy. It has a simple structure: each state gets a page, and that page is divided into four parts: a map of the state w/ areas highlighted showing where the fossil can be found, an illustration of the organism as it looked when it …