Podcast 121 - Reconstructing the Niche


The gang discusses two papers that use fossil evidence to determine the past ecology and niche-space of past organisms, specifically dodos and hyenas. How can we use information from bones to interpret diet, life cycle, and behaviors of long dead animals? Also, James decides to start Skynet on the grounds that they will let him become a weather controlling tiger-bot, while Amanda and Curt draw hard lines in the sand about Don Bluth cartoons. 


Up-Goer Five (James Edition):

The group looks at two papers that are interested in seeing how things lived. The first is cutting into the inside hard parts of animals with that should fly but could not fly and are in the same family as animals that can fly and live with people in cities. These animals died when people came to their rock in the big water that you can not drink with lots of bad friends. The people that came to the home of these animals did not care about them much, and so the words we have from them are not very good and often do not agree. The study looks at the hard parts and the words of the people to see how these animals lived. They show that the animals grew quickly and changed their clothes a lot over the year which is why different people thought they looked different, and that they laid their round baby boxes during the part of the year when there was not bad sky stuff.

The next study looks at the teeth of cats that want to be dogs that are today only found in the big place where the rains are down but in the past were found in many places that people lived. They want to see if these cats that want to be dogs eat the same thing at different points in time. They show that the cats that want to be dogs eat different things today than they used to, and that maybe this is because there are very big cats that are definitely cats in the big place where the rains are down that stop them getting other food.



 DeSantis, Larisa RG, et al. "Assessing niche conservatism using a multiproxy approach: dietary ecology of extinct and extant spotted hyenas." Paleobiology 43.2 (2017): 286-303. 

 Angst, D., et al. "Bone histology sheds new light on the ecology of the dodo (Raphus cucullatus, Aves, Columbiformes)." Scientific Reports 7 (2017).