Podcast 147 - Otters and Sharks and Wolves Oh My


The gang returns to one of their favorite pet topics, food! This week, we discuss two papers that investigate what different animals are eating. Specifically, we focus on a paper that uses fossil data to infer the feeding strategies of extinct giant otters, and another paper that seeks to answer the question of whether or not modern bonnethead sharks are omnivorous. Also, Amanda finds her spirit anime character, James workshops new ideas for the podcast at the worst possible time, Curt leads us on a strange aside about bears and wolves, and we all work together to invent the perfect animal.

Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition)

Our friends talk about what animals eat. First they talk about long four legged animals with hair who have high voices. Some of these long four legged animals from a long time ago were really really big. When we study the hard parts of these really big, long four legged animals, we find that they can break open other really hard things in order to eat them. When we look at the hard parts of living long, four legged animals with high voices, we find that these old big long four legged animals were probably able to break things in different ways than the living animals just because they were so very very big. This shows that long four legged animals in the past could fill different jobs in the world than the living, much smaller four legged animals.

Second, the friends look at animals that spend all their time in the water and have lots of inside parts that do not break. These water animals are often thought to eat other animals only. However, these water animals have been shown to eat green things that make food from the sun. People did not know if these water animals meant to eat the green things that make food from the sun, or if they did not mean to. Some people took some of these water animals and had these water animals eat a lot of green things that make food from the sun. The water animals got bigger, and seemed to do well when they were made to eat only these green things. The people decided that this meant the water animals meant to eat the green things and that meant that not all water animals with inside parts that do not break eat only other animals.


 Tseng, Z. Jack, et al. "Feeding capability in the extinct giant Siamogale melilutra and comparative mandibular biomechanics of living Lutrinae." Scientific Reports 7.1 (2017): 15225. 

 Leigh, Samantha C., Yannis P. Papastamatiou, and Donovan P. German. "Seagrass digestion by a notorious ‘carnivore’." Proc. R. Soc. B 285.1886 (2018): 20181583.