My Top Three Lagerstätten

Guest Author: Dr Rachel Kruft Welton
Current Palaeobiology MSc Student, University of Bristol

Lagerstätten are fossil deposits containing exceptionally preserved remains of creatures from the past. Often soft parts have been preserved and snap-shots of organisms in life-like positions have been captured. The creation of such a fossil deposit is an enormously rare event, and as such, Lagerstätten have been enthusiastically studied.

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Shark Week: When and How Did Megalodon Become Extinct?

Guest Author: Jack Cooper, MSc
UoB Graduate / PhD Student, University of Swansea

And so we come to the end of Megalodon’s supremacy in the Cenozoic oceans. It had a good run for sure (~20 million years), but unfortunately all good things come to an end. While everything about Megalodon is cool and warrants research attention (why do you think I ended up with 7 blog posts?), a key question of its recent science is when the last of these giant sharks finally died, leaving only its teeth as its legacy.

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Shark Week: How Did Megalodon Become A Giant?

Guest Author: Jack Cooper, MSc
UoB Graduate / PhD Student, University of Swansea

This blog will be discussing some particularly clever recent work on Megalodon. And with it comes a new main player in this ball pit of research. Enter Humberto Ferrón, who I was lucky enough to get to work with on my MSc thesis [1]. He made quite a splash in 2017 when he published two papers of immediate relevance to Megalodon that provided an extremely plausible explanation as to how such a massive shark had managed to evolve in the first place.

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Shark Week: What Did Megalodon Eat?

Guest Author: Jack Cooper, MSc
UoB Graduate / PhD Student, University of Swansea

As we’ve seen so far, there have been changes and updates to the scientific consensus of Megalodon’s taxonomic assignment and maximum body size. However, its favourite snack is something that is universally agreed upon in the scientific community. In another rarity, it’s something that’s usually portrayed with pretty good accuracy in fiction. Allow me to introduce a shark that ate whales – actual whales!

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Shark Week: When & Where Did Megalodon Live?

Guest Author: Jack Cooper, MSc
UoB Graduate / PhD Student, University of Swansea

While a lot of recent work has gone into when Megalodon went extinct (to be discussed in detail in Saturday’s post), there’s less work regarding when exactly this giant shark first appeared. But I can tell you this with certainty: no, Megalodon was not alive when dinosaurs were still roaming the earth.

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Shark Week: How Big Did Megalodon Get?

Guest Author: Jack Cooper, MSc
UoB Graduate / PhD Student, University of Swansea

You might be surprised to hear that the scientific consensus on Megalodon’s maximum body size has varied over the last few decades. A lot of this has to do with how we estimate the shark’s total length (TL). This is a hard thing to do considering that palaeontologists mostly have only its fossil teeth to go off of [1]. Like all modern sharks, Megalodon’s skeleton was made out of cartilage, which decomposes with the rest of the body after death and therefore has particularly poor preservation potential in the fossil record. However, calculating TL only takes a tooth and some fairly basic maths.

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A shark nerd’s guide to Megalodon: What do we know about this extinct giant shark?

Guest Author: Jack Cooper, MSc
UoB Palaeobiology Graduate / PhD student, University of Swansea

When palaeontologists discuss extinct sharks to the general public, the Megalodon (Otodus megalodon) is pretty much always the first to come to mind. And there’s a good reason why – it’s a giant shark. The name ‘megalodon’ translates to Big Tooth; a name that’s pretty self-explanatory.

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Terrible Lizards, Terrible Injuries

Guest Author: James Ormiston
Palaeontology MSci Graduate

Disclaimer: The sketches made for this article were drawn before the extensive re-description of Dilophosaurus specimens by Marsh & Rowe (2020). As such they may no longer be as anatomically accurate, particularly regarding the robustness of the skull and shape of the crests.
You can find the “new look” for Dilophosaurus here.

Dilophosaurus: my favourite dinosaur and one of Jurassic Park’s only celebrity species to actually come from the Jurassic period. This is a dinosaur which, perhaps more so than any other to appear on screen, has suffered a persistent identity crisis thanks to some major creative liberties taken by Crichton and Spielberg to make it more intimidating (and it worked on me, as a child it was by far the one that scared me the most). But that part is already addressed in a previous article on the blog. Today we’re going to take a look at another intriguing aspect of Dilophosaurus which could tell us a lot about what it was like to walk in its…um…dino-shoes? Di-loafers-aurus? Maybe let’s leave the palaeo-puns in the ground…

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Ghosts in the Machine: The Mysterious World of Palaeovirology

Guest Author – James Ormiston
Palaeontology MSci Graduate

How do you do study an aspect of ancient life that doesn’t leave behind fossils? Is it even palaeontology if the thing you’re studying wasn’t technically alive in the first place? After all, that’s what the “onto” part means! These are the problems tackled by the strange sub-field of palaeovirology.

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