219 episodes

Join David and Will as they explore the paleontologists’ perspective on various topics in life and earth history.

Each episode features a main discussion on a topic requested by the listeners, presented as a lighthearted and educational conversation about fossils, evolution, deep time, and more.

Before the main discussion, each episode also includes a news segment, covering recent research related to paleontology and evolution.

Each episode ends with the answer to a question submitted by subscribers on Patreon.

New episodes with new topics every fortnight!

The Common Descent Podcast Common Descent

    • Science
    • 4.8 • 468 Ratings

Join David and Will as they explore the paleontologists’ perspective on various topics in life and earth history.

Each episode features a main discussion on a topic requested by the listeners, presented as a lighthearted and educational conversation about fossils, evolution, deep time, and more.

Before the main discussion, each episode also includes a news segment, covering recent research related to paleontology and evolution.

Each episode ends with the answer to a question submitted by subscribers on Patreon.

New episodes with new topics every fortnight!

    Episode 149 - Ants

    Episode 149 - Ants

    In our modern world, ants are so ubiquitous that it’s difficult to image our planet without them, so successful that they shape the environments around them despite their tiny size, and so diverse that we couldn’t possibly discuss even a small fraction of their diversity in this one podcast episode. We’ll touch on some of what makes ants unique, list a few of our favorite examples of modern ant lifestyles, and dive into what is known about their ancient history and evolution. Get ready for fire ants, bullet ants, dinosaur ants, hell ants, and more.

    In the news: mysterious maybe-molluscs, giant otters, tuatara cousins, and fossil fish organs.

    Time markers:
    Intro & Announcements: 00:00:00
    News: 00:05:30
    Main discussion, Part 1: 00:31:30
    Main discussion, Part 2: 01:16:30
    Patron question: 01:54:00

    Check out our blog for bonus info and pictures:
    http://commondescentpodcast.wordpress.com/

    Follow this link for a 30 day free trial to Audible!
    www.audibletrial.com/CommonDescent

    Join us on Patreon to support the podcast and enjoy bonus content! https://www.patreon.com/commondescentpodcast 

    Or make a one-time donation via PayPal: https://tinyurl.com/4c68u4hp

    Find merch at the Common Descent Store! http://zazzle.com/common_descent

    Join the Common Descent Discord server! https://discord.gg/CwPBxdh9Ev

    Follow and Support us on:
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/CommonDescentPC
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/commondescentpodcast
    Instagram: @commondescentpodcast
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCePRXHEnZmTGum2r1l2mduw
    PodBean: https://commondescentpodcast.podbean.com/
    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-common-descent-podcast/id1207586509?mt=2

    You can email us at commondescentpodcast(at)gmail.com
    Or send us physical mail at:
    The Common Descent Podcast
    1735 W State of Franklin Rd. Ste 5 #165
    Johnson City, TN 37604

    The Intro and Outro music is “On the Origin of Species” by Protodome.
    More music like this at http://ocremix.org.

    Musical Interludes are "Professor Umlaut" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 2 hr 2 min
    Episode 148 - Gliding

    Episode 148 - Gliding

    Powered flight is hard, and evolution has only produced it a few times. Gliding, however, is much easier and much more common. In fact, there is an astonishing diversity of gliding organisms to be found in our modern world as well as in the fossil record, with an incredible variety in the adaptations they use to sail through the sky. This episode, we’ll explore what it takes to glide and what patterns we see in gliding evolution, and we’ll also geek out about all the amazing sizes, shapes, and strategies of gliders.

    In the news: coral mutations, African dinosaurs, croc brains, and ancient amputation.

    Time markers:
    Intro & Announcements: 00:00:00
    News: 00:07:00
    Main discussion, Part 1: 00:41:30
    Main discussion, Part 2: 01:28:30
    Patron question: 02:22:00

    Check out our blog for bonus info and pictures:
    http://commondescentpodcast.wordpress.com/

    Support Mouse’s classroom!
    https://www.donorschoose.org/classroom/mx-hecht

    Join us on Patreon to support the podcast and enjoy bonus content! https://www.patreon.com/commondescentpodcast 

    Or make a one-time donation via PayPal: https://tinyurl.com/4c68u4hp

    Find merch at the Common Descent Store! http://zazzle.com/common_descent

    Join the Common Descent Discord server! https://discord.gg/CwPBxdh9Ev

    Follow and Support us on:
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/CommonDescentPC
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/commondescentpodcast
    Instagram: @commondescentpodcast
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCePRXHEnZmTGum2r1l2mduw
    PodBean: https://commondescentpodcast.podbean.com/
    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-common-descent-podcast/id1207586509?mt=2

    You can email us at commondescentpodcast(at)gmail.com
    Or send us physical mail at:
    The Common Descent Podcast
    1735 W State of Franklin Rd. Ste 5 #165
    Johnson City, TN 37604

    The Intro and Outro music is “On the Origin of Species” by Protodome.
    More music like this at http://ocremix.org.

    Musical Interludes are "Professor Umlaut" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 2 hr 30 min
    Episode 147 - Genetics

    Episode 147 - Genetics

    For many years, scientists pondered the question: how and why do offspring inherit traits from their parents? And key to the answer to that question is another question: what determines an organism’s traits in the first place? The pursuit of these answers ultimately led to the modern field of genetics, which itself is crucial to the study of evolution. This episode, we address just a few key points on this vast topic, with a focus on how our understanding of genetics allows us to interpret the history of evolution on our planet.

    In the news: early fruit-eating, giant Australian birds, beaver evolution, and human speech.

    Time markers:
    Intro & Announcements: 00:00:00
    News: 00:06:00
    Main discussion, Part 1: 00:37:30
    Main discussion, Part 2: 01:08:30
    Patron question: 02:00:00

    Check out our blog for bonus info and pictures:
    http://commondescentpodcast.wordpress.com/

    Join us on Patreon to support the podcast and enjoy bonus content! https://www.patreon.com/commondescentpodcast 

    Or make a one-time donation via PayPal: https://tinyurl.com/4c68u4hp

    Find merch at the Common Descent Store! http://zazzle.com/common_descent

    Join the Common Descent Discord server! https://discord.gg/CwPBxdh9Ev

    Follow and Support us on:
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/CommonDescentPC
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/commondescentpodcast
    Instagram: @commondescentpodcast
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCePRXHEnZmTGum2r1l2mduw
    PodBean: https://commondescentpodcast.podbean.com/
    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-common-descent-podcast/id1207586509?mt=2

    You can email us at commondescentpodcast(at)gmail.com
    Or send us physical mail at:
    The Common Descent Podcast
    1735 W State of Franklin Rd. Ste 5 #165
    Johnson City, TN 37604

    The Intro and Outro music is “On the Origin of Species” by Protodome.
    More music like this at http://ocremix.org.

    Musical Interludes are "Professor Umlaut" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 2 hr 6 min
    Episode 146 - The Jurassic-Cretaceous Transition

    Episode 146 - The Jurassic-Cretaceous Transition

    Every period of geologic time is distinguished by its own environmental and ecological features, and every boundary between time periods is characterized by change. The boundary between the Jurassic Period and the Cretaceous Period is mostly marked by mystery. Was there a mass extinction? Were there catastrophic changes? Where even is the boundary exactly? In this episode, we’ll discuss the answers – or lack thereof – to these questions and more as we explore this surprisingly enigmatic time in Earth history.

    In the news: croc conservation, diving whales, aquatic mammal-cousins, and sauropod feet.

    Time markers:
    Intro & Announcements: 00:00:00
    News: 00:06:15
    Main discussion, Part 1: 00:36:30
    Main discussion, Part 2: 01:00:30
    Patron question: 01:33:30

    We recently appeared on the Juras-Sick-Park-Cast!
    https://jurassickparkcast.blogspot.com/2022/07/episode-20-when-dinosaurs-ruled-earth.html

    Check out our blog for bonus info and pictures:
    http://commondescentpodcast.wordpress.com/

    Join us on Patreon to support the podcast and enjoy bonus content! https://www.patreon.com/commondescentpodcast 

    Or make a one-time donation via PayPal: https://tinyurl.com/4c68u4hp

    Find merch at the Common Descent Store! http://zazzle.com/common_descent

    Join the Common Descent Discord server! https://discord.gg/CwPBxdh9Ev

    Follow and Support us on:
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/CommonDescentPC
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/commondescentpodcast
    Instagram: @commondescentpodcast
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCePRXHEnZmTGum2r1l2mduw
    PodBean: https://commondescentpodcast.podbean.com/
    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-common-descent-podcast/id1207586509?mt=2

    You can email us at commondescentpodcast(at)gmail.com
    Or send us physical mail at:
    The Common Descent Podcast
    1735 W State of Franklin Rd. Ste 5 #165
    Johnson City, TN 37604

    The Intro and Outro music is “On the Origin of Species” by Protodome.
    More music like this at http://ocremix.org.

    Musical Interludes are "Professor Umlaut" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 1 hr 41 min
    Episode 145 - Photosynthesis

    Episode 145 - Photosynthesis

    We live in a solar-powered world. Photosynthesis is the process by which some organisms (notably plants and cyanobacteria) harness the energy of sunlight to power their own metabolism, in the process creating the sugars (food) which provide a source of energy for all sorts of other organisms, not to mention releasing oxygen as well. Photosynthesis is the reason our planet is the way it is, from the diversity of life to the composition of the atmosphere. In this episode, we discuss the diversity of photosynthesis and photosynthesizers, what we know about the evolutionary history of the process, and how it has profoundly changed the world.

    In the news: freshwater plesiosaurs, endothermy evolution, whale shark diets, and bone-crushing dogs.

    Time markers:
    Intro & Announcements: 00:00:00
    News: 00:08:30
    Main discussion, Part 1: 00:43:30
    Main discussion, Part 2: 01:45:30
    Patron question: 02:31:00
    Please forgive our mismatched audio in the Intro and News sections.

    We recently appeared on the Juras-Sick-Park-Cast!
    https://jurassickparkcast.blogspot.com/2022/07/episode-20-when-dinosaurs-ruled-earth.html

    Check out our blog for bonus info and pictures:
    http://commondescentpodcast.wordpress.com/

    Join us on Patreon to support the podcast and enjoy bonus content! https://www.patreon.com/commondescentpodcast 

    Or make a one-time donation via PayPal: https://tinyurl.com/4c68u4hp

    Find merch at the Common Descent Store! http://zazzle.com/common_descent

    Join the Common Descent Discord server! https://discord.gg/CwPBxdh9Ev

    Follow and Support us on:
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/CommonDescentPC
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/commondescentpodcast
    Instagram: @commondescentpodcast
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCePRXHEnZmTGum2r1l2mduw
    PodBean: https://commondescentpodcast.podbean.com/
    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-common-descent-podcast/id1207586509?mt=2

    You can email us at commondescentpodcast(at)gmail.com
    Or send us physical mail at:
    The Common Descent Podcast
    1735 W State of Franklin Rd. Ste 5 #165
    Johnson City, TN 37604

    The Intro and Outro music is “On the Origin of Species” by Protodome.
    More music like this at http://ocremix.org.

    Musical Interludes are "Professor Umlaut" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 2 hr 41 min
    Episode 144 - Evolutionary Gigantism and Dwarfism

    Episode 144 - Evolutionary Gigantism and Dwarfism

    The history of evolution is full of species of unusual size, big and small. But the factors that lead to evolutionary miniaturization or embiggening can be quite varied and are not all fully agreed-upon by scientists. This episode, we discuss what it means for life to evolve huge or tiny, what trends researchers have identified in body size evolution, and which of those trends actually holds up to further scrutiny.

    In the news: krait venom, a frozen pup, parental water bugs, and giant storks.

    Time markers:
    Intro & Announcements: 00:00:00
    News: 00:06:00
    Main discussion, Part 1: 00:39:30
    Main discussion, Part 2: 01:32:30
    Patron question: 02:10:30

    IT’S SNAKE MONTH! Check out our Snake Month activities on our social media, Discord, and Patreon!

    Check out our blog for bonus info and pictures:
    http://commondescentpodcast.wordpress.com/

    Join us on Patreon to support the podcast and enjoy bonus content! https://www.patreon.com/commondescentpodcast 

    Or make a one-time donation via PayPal: https://tinyurl.com/4c68u4hp

    Find merch at the Common Descent Store! http://zazzle.com/common_descent

    Join the Common Descent Discord server! https://discord.gg/CwPBxdh9Ev

    Follow and Support us on:
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/CommonDescentPC
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/commondescentpodcast
    Instagram: @commondescentpodcast
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCePRXHEnZmTGum2r1l2mduw
    PodBean: https://commondescentpodcast.podbean.com/
    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-common-descent-podcast/id1207586509?mt=2

    You can email us at commondescentpodcast(at)gmail.com
    Or send us physical mail at:
    The Common Descent Podcast
    1735 W State of Franklin Rd. Ste 5 #165
    Johnson City, TN 37604

    The Intro and Outro music is “On the Origin of Species” by Protodome.
    More music like this at http://ocremix.org.

    Musical Interludes are "Professor Umlaut" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 2 hr 21 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
468 Ratings

468 Ratings

Brightstargirl ,

My favorite podcast

I started a bunch of paleo podcasts at the same time. I listen to them all but this is the one that I go though the archives on. I love how excited they get talking about things. I love the deep dives into single topics. I love the accessible information.

la hermanas ,

Great info Terrible presentation!

The info is great! The presentation is a punch of chatter, talk over and mixed cadence!!

Jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjk ,

New favorite podcast

Fell in love and became a Patreon within the first week of finding this podcast.

Edit-more than a year later, still my favorite. (No podcast has ever topped my personal charts for more than a year)

You Might Also Like

Garret and Sabrina
PBS
Palaeocast
The Leakey Foundation
History Hit
Chris Hasler