Episode 2: The Cambrian Explosion

Dickinsonia costata image from here

For episode 2 of the On the FOSSIL Record podcast, we decided to talk about one of Jason’s favourite subjects – the Cambrian Explosion. There’s an awful lot which could be said about the Cambrian Explosion which we just couldn’t fit in, especially not with our free-flowing format, so don’t be surprised if we come back to this topic in the future.

Give it a listen, where you’ll hear more of Jason rambling than Dean this time, some occasional clicking of a pen in the background (all pens will be moved well away from Jason in the future), Jason deciding that every name needs to be pronounced in several different ways whilst forgetting the names of half the researchers mentioned (apologies if we got your name wrong or forgot it completely, Jason isn’t good with names and sometimes goes by other names when he forgets his own). If you’re wondering what took us so long, see here. And if you’re visiting for the first time, give our first episode a listen as well.

You can listen to the podcast below and it can now be found on a number of podcast-hosting sites, including iTunes and Spotify.


The Podbean page can be found here and might make it easier to listen to on the go (it doesn’t seem to want to embed properly in WordPress, but the previews look nice at least).

We attempted to discuss a few recent papers, they are:

Fu et al’s The Qingjiang biota – a Burgess Shale-type fossil Lagerstätte from the early Cambrian of South China, found here.

Paterson et al’s Trilobite evolutionary rates constrain the duration of the Cambrian explosion, available here.

And Wood et al‘s Integrated records of environmental change and evolution challenge the Cambrian Explosion, which you can find here.

We gave a shoutout to Tina Negus for finding the first specimen of Charnia, she’s done some wonderful, unique palaeoart of Ediacaran seafloors, see here and here for example.

And finally, Dean mentioned a song which provides a great intro to the Cambrian Explosion by Brighter Lights, Thicker Glasses. Enjoy.

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