Wherever you go in the world, the landscapes, seascapes, and cityscapes you encounter all have stories to tell. Those stories might be about how that place was formed, how its wildlife has evolved, how we understand the processes that shaped it, or how it has inspired artists, writers, and musicians. No matter what the story is, knowing how to read it and understand it makes any trip more worthwhile, whether it's to the park down the street or a city on the other side of the globe. The purpose of Voyages is to help tell these stories, to enrich travel to the places that tell them, and build understanding of the world around us.
Voyage to the Volcanic Prairie
If you're interested in how grasslands and the animals that live in them have evolved together over millions of years, Nebraska is one of the best places in the world to visit. One of the reasons that we know as much as we do about this evolutionary epic are the many volcanoes upwind of Nebraska. Join me and Dr. Nick Famoso as we discuss how eruptions and the ash they emit help us understand the age of the Great Plains and, in one very remarkable case, captured and preserved a single moment in time.
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 2020 - A Voyages Smörgåsbord
We break from our usual format this episode to bring you several short stories told by paleontologists at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's annual meeting, which has gone virtual this year. Some of these stories focus on a particular fossil or site and what it tells us about life through time, but several are more about how fossils inspire us and led us to careers in paleontology.
The Voyage After the Beagle
In this episode, we travel to London to follow the story of Charles Darwin in the years between his return to England following his trip around the world on the HMS Beagle and his publication, along with Alfred Russel Wallace, of the theory of natural selection. We'll see for ourselves some of the observations he made of fossil mammals, now on display in the Natural History Museum, that first got him thinking about evolution. We'll travel to the small village of Downe, where Darwin would spend decades testing and fine tuning his hypothesis into one of science's most important theories. We'll end with a visit to the Linnean Society, where Darwin and Wallace presented their findings and where we can see how the ideas they developed remain at the heart of biological research today.
Voyage to the Crossroads
In our first full-length episode we join Dr. Win McLaughlin of Pomona College and visit Kyrgyzstan, a mountainous Central Asian country that has been a cultural crossroads for millenia and a crossroads for animal life for much, much longer. We discuss how the Kyrgyz landscape formed, the fossils that are the focus of Win's research, and the important role that Kyrgyzstan has played in the story of mammal evolution in Asia, Europe, and even North America. We also talk about how the country's geography and wildlife have shaped its culture and about how you can experience Kyrgyzstan's natural and cultural heritage firsthand.
In our very first episode, I introduce some of the stories about the natural world and how we understand it told by my home town of Spokane. I also talk a bit about what this podcast will be all about and what to expect from future episodes.