Palaeo After Dark

A group of fresh faced scientists have biweekly informal discussions about evolutionary biology and palaeontology... over beer.

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Podcast 171 - Birds Get Swole in New Zealand


The gang discusses some very interesting papers about bird fossils in New Zealand. These papers describe how many different types of birds ended up on New Zealand throughout the Cenozoic, and each time they experienced significant increases in their size. Sadly, since this was a very straightforward topic, no one could quite manage to focus on anything. So meanwhile, Curt remembers childhood animations that no one cares about, James makes it “fun” for himself and no one else, Amanda drinks the unholy combination of bourbon and rye (brye?), and everything just kind of gets way too 2019 near the end (EDITOR’S NOTE: Apologies for the inconsistent audio on this episode. The wrong inputs were used for some of the audio due to some last minute changes, but this should not happen in the future).   Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition): Today our friends talk about things with no teeth that can fly that can't actually fly and live on land that has water all around it. One of these things with no teeth that can fly but can't actually fly does sort of fly, but under the water instead of in the air. The other is a very large thing with no teeth that can fly but can't fly that people will have as an animal in their house a lot of the time. These things with no teeth that can fly that people keep in their house yell a lot and can also learn to talk. The one our friends talk about is just a leg, but it was very large and probably as big as a small child. The whole animal was that big, not the leg. The other thing with no teeth that can fly but can't fly but does sort of fly under the water is very big and very old and maybe is one of the oldest ones of these things with no teeth that can't fly anymore. It seems like maybe this land with water all around it was a good place for these early things with no teeth that can fly but now can't fly but sort of fly under water, because there are many of them there at this time. And they are very old, some of the oldest ones, and very big, so maybe being big is an old thing that this group of animals does.   References:  Worthy, Trevor H., et al. "Evidence for a giant parrot from the Early Miocene of New Zealand." Biology letters 15.8 (2019): 20190467.   Mayr, Gerald, et al. "Leg bones of a new penguin species from the Waipara Greensand add to the diversity of very large-sized Sphenisciformes in the Paleocene of New Zealand." Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology (2019): 1-18. 


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 15 September 2019  1h39m