Podcast 120 - Something Something Convergence


The gang discusses two papers that deal with different examples of convergence. The first discusses how brood parasite female cuckoos mimic birds of prey, and the second paper discusses convergent morphological evolution in early tetrapodomorph fishes. What do these two papers have in common. you may ask? Both discussions have Amanda cheerfully yelling the word "Convergence!"

Meanwhile, Amanda narrowly avoids drunk Amazon shopping, James demands truth in advertising, Curt doesn't believe that these papers are remotely related in any way, and everybody gets very easily distracted by the prospect of fire-belching furnaces and knife-wielding murderbots. <EDITOR'S NOTE: The group start talking about science about 10 minutes in>


Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition): 

The group looks at two papers where the same things keep happening to many different animals. The first paper looks at an animal that can fly and is a bad mom that leaves the kids with some other flying mom so she does not have to raise them. This flying bad mom can pretend to be something else and kind of looks like something else that is big and angry. When the flying bad mom drops the kids at the home of the other flying mom, she pretends to be a very big and angry flying thing by screaming as she leaves the home of the other flying mom. People showed that the sound of the bad mom screaming sounds just like the big angry thing she is pretending to be, which makes the other flying moms scared so they do not know that the kids have been left at their home. The kids then eat the other flying moms out of house and home.

The other paper looks at animals that are in the water but could sometimes come out on the land from a long time ago. As time went on, more of these animals spent more time out on land than on the water, and they also changed how they looked. This made us think that the things spending more time on land changed in ways for them to spend more time on the land. But this new animal shows that those changes happened in things that didn't spend as much time on land, so maybe the changes aren't just because things were on the land so much.



York, J. E., & Davies, N. B. (2017). Female cuckoo calls misdirect host defences towards the wrong enemy. Nature https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0279-3

Zhu, Min, et al. "A Devonian tetrapod-like fish reveals substantial parallelism in stem tetrapod evolution." Nature Ecology & Evolution (2017): 1.