The gang discusses two papers that investigate niche partitioning and the ecological impacts on bird beak evolution. Honestly, this podcast is just a grab bag of different topics loosely connected together as an excuse for James to continue to espouse his beliefs on pies. The gang discusses one paper about a long necked reptile and another paper about beak morphological evolution in Aves. Meanwhile, Amanda is a Samurai Jack fan apparently, James likes his papers short, and Curt kills an old joke.
Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):
Our friends look at two papers that look at faces. The first paper looks at this strange thing that lived in water and had a very long neck and small head. When people found these strange things, there was always a big one and a small one. Most people thought the small one was just a baby of the big one. This paper shows that the small ones were not babies, and in fact they actually lived in a different way from the big one. This means there was more than one of these strange things living in the same place at the same time, and the fact that they lived in different ways may be way they could have been able to stay so close without causing the other ones to die out from there not being enough food.
The second paper looks at the faces of animals that fly. These faces change a lot because the face is what they use to eat. Some of these animals that fly seem to have faces that look like they are that way because of the things they eat, but others of these animals do not seem to do this. This paper studies lots of these things that fly and looks at how they are brother and sister to each other. What they find is that groups that eat a few types of things have fast changing faces, while other groups do not have fast moving faces. In short, why some faces change and others do not seems to be something that does not have an easy answer and that is cool.
Felice, Ryan N., et al. "Dietary niche and the evolution of cranial morphology in birds." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286.1897 (2019): 20182677.
Spiekman, Stephan NF, et al. "Aquatic Habits and Niche Partitioning in the Extraordinarily Long-Necked Triassic Reptile Tanystropheus." Current Biology (2020).