Off Topic: Terror Birds

Following the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, surviving species rapidly radiated across the planet, evolving into myriad bizarre and beautiful forms. In South America, an island continent until three million years ago, many weird and wonderful species emerged and disappeared. Three-toed horses, giant ground sloths, weird-hoofed mammals, giant rodents, and marvelous marsupials… Read More

On the Evolutionary History of Billfish

The Old Narrative When I travel to the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, I traverse the Rickenbacker Bridge which overlooks Biscayne Bay. Miami, like much of South Florida, is a haven for large game fish like marlins, mackerel, and tuna. Or, at least, it once was. Conservationists and fishermen alike have collaborated to… Read More

On the Golden Age of Sharks

When the Golden Age of Fishes ended 359 million years ago, more than 75% of Earth’s species were eliminated. The Devonian Period, as it was also known, was over. As life rebounded, a new era of abundance—the Carboniferous Period—had begun. On land, the world’s first rainforests emerged. Early clubmosses, conifers, and cycads—some more than 100… Read More

On the Sharks of the Devonian

“The Golden Age of Fishes” is known for, among many things, its incredible ichthyologic diversity. As life on land began its own rapid radiation of terrestrial forms, including the earliest ferns and the insects that ate them, marine ecosystems flourished below the ocean’s surface. Between 416 and 359 million years ago, the Devonian Period saw… Read More