The gang discusses two papers that use new findings to upend some of our previous interpretations of fossil taxa. First, they talk about the new biogeochemical studies that suggest the odd disc-shaped Ediacaran organism, Dickinsonia, might be the first animal in our fossil record. Second, they talk about some new fossil interpretations that challenge our understanding about the evolution of sauropods (the big, long necked dinosaurs). Also, James discusses posture, Curt buries the dinosaur lede, and Amanda finds out she has things to say… later.
Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):
The friends get together to talk about new things that have been found out about some very old things. First, they talk about this round thing that was around a very very very long time ago. This round thing was very funny looking, and a lot of people had different ideas about what this round thing could have been. But some people just did a study to try and found out what the round thing was made of. It turns out, the round thing is made up of matter with 4 bits in rings. These types of matter rings are only found today in all of the animals. So, they then said that this funny looking round thing was probably an animal.
The friends next talk about these very large animals that had very long necks and lived a long time ago. These long necked animals were thought to have gotten really big after they started walking on all four of their feet and their legs became like trees. However, this study found that there were earlier long necked animals that were almost just as big, but were able to spend some time on two feet and their legs were still very much like legs. This means that these long necked animals got big and got small again over time without needing to get really thick tree legs that would make them have to only walk on four feet.
Bobrovskiy, Ilya, et al. "Ancient steroids establish the Ediacaran fossil Dickinsonia as one of the earliest animals." Science 361.6408 (2018): 1246-1249.
McPhee, Blair W., et al. "A giant dinosaur from the earliest Jurassic of South Africa and the transition to quadrupedality in early sauropodomorphs." Current Biology 28.19 (2018): 3143-3151.