The gang discuss two papers that attempt to resolve the taxonomic placement of animals with complex or confusing morphologies. Also, they somehow go off on a tangent about careers in academia, publish or perish, and the various lengths people can go to try and maximize their research output. Meanwhile, Amanda has some issues with her light sockets, James tries to pass off "facts"about rats, Curt makes references to 90's cartoons, and everyone greets our new guest, the "Pony".
Up-Goer Five (James Edition):
The group looks at two studies where animals that were thought to be one thing were shown to be another. The first paper looks at a very old animal known from three parts. One part was thought to be a soft animal that moved in the water and had the same thing for a mouth and a bottom, another part was thought to be an animal that hid in a hard house and grabbed food as it passed, and another was thought to be something that has a soft thing in it for sending news from end to end. The new study shows that these are all the same thing, and that is part of a big group of animals that can move in water or stick to rocks and attack things with small arms.
The other study is looking at big angry animals with no hair, especially one big angry animal that it is not known where it should go. The big angry animal is not that big and not that angry, and seems to be like both big angry animals with no hair that ate other animals and big angry animals with no hair that ate green things that do not move. The new study shows that it is part of one of the groups of big angry animals with no hair that eats green things that do not move, but the ones that have big heads and short necks. Parts of it look like big angry animals with no hair that eat other animals because it is an early part of the big angry animals with no hair that eat green things that do not move that have big heads and short necks even though we find it after we find some of its friends.
Ou, Qiang, et al. "Three Cambrian fossils assembled into an extinct body plan of cnidarian affinity." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(2017): 201701650.
Baron, Matthew G. and Barrett, Paul M. "A dinosaur missing-link? Chilesaurus and the early evolution of ornithischian dinosaurs" Biology Letters(2017): https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.