Palaeo Jam

Palaeo Jam

Palaeo Jam is a podcast exploring a range of issues in science and the community, using the multidisciplinary aspects of, and public fascination with, palaeontology. Palaeo Jam uses fossils, and other objects from palaeontology, to explore a range of scientific and social issues, and incorporate key research and discoveries into its content. Each episode has a theme and is restricted to a strict, 30-minute timeframe. Each episode has a panel of up to three guests, and is hosted by award-winning science communicator Michael Mills.


January 4, 2024 30 mins

There’s something quite delightful about seeing the skeleton of a prehistoric animal move in a way that it might have moved when the bones were covered in flesh, and the animal was alive. Jack O Conner is a PhD candidate at Monash University, and that’s exactly what he's doing at the Evans EvoMorph Lab.


In this episode of Palaeo Jam, host Michael Mills chats with Jack about how he came to be doing what he does, explores the proce...

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Australia is currently home to 17 species of hawks and eagles. Tens of thousands of years ago, however, there were more. What were they like? What happened to them? And what can we learn about past ecosystems and the extinction that wiped out the Australian mega-fauna, in studying such prehistoric birds?


In this episode of Palaeo Jam, host Michael Mills chats with Dr Ellen Mather, Adjunct Associate lecturer at Flinders University...

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December 7, 2023 30 mins

The fossil record of Theropod dinosaurs in Australia is sparse, and our understanding of them is poor. In a recent publication of the first chapter of his PhD, PhD Candidate Jake Kotevski is on his way to changing that.


In this episode of Palaeo Jam, host Michael Mills chats with Jake about the recent identification of the oldest-known Megaraptorid skull fragment, found on an Eastern Victorian beach in Australia, nearly 20 years ...

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November 16, 2023 29 mins

In August 2023, Michael Mills travelled to various communities in Australia, to record multiple episodes of the Palaeo Jam podcast for National Science Week. One of the enduring conversations born of the tour was how a community might engage with its local fossil heritage, and 


In this episode, recorded in Naracoorte, South Australia, in front of a live audience, we discuss a range of ideas of what local communities might do to b...

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November 9, 2023 30 mins

12 months ago, Palaeo Jam host Michael Mills chatted with three students from Flinders University in South Australia who had just completed the first year of a palaeontology degree, about their experiences in first year. In this episode of Palaeo Jam, Michael chats with the same three students… Dylan Slinn, Natalie Jackson and Thomas Khajeh… about their experiences in second year. Having finished for the year, and while waiting for...

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October 21, 2023 29 mins

Plants matter. Without them, there’d be no us! There’d have been no dinosaurs! There’d have been no animals of any kind. When we go into our gardens, the thing we see most clearly, are the plants. In this episode, Palaeo Jam host Michael Mills chats with Director of the N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium, and Lecturer in Plant Systematics, at the University of New England, Dr Andrew Thornhill about the evolution of plants, and why they’re rat...

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September 29, 2023 30 mins

Eight million years ago, in what is now Alcoota, in central Australia, it is thought that a catastrophic event occurred leading to the death of hundreds of individual animals. While devastating for the individuals, it’s also an event that was followed by a process of fossilisation that has ensured we have a remarkable record of who lived in that place at the time, and who died in those moments.


In this episode of Palaeo Jam, reco...

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Being able to access field trips to dig up fossils has long been a central feature of studying palaeontology, and being a palaeontologist. But what if you have been born with a rare and severe genetic condition, such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 1 like Eleanor Beidatsch? As a nine year old, Eleanor dreamed of being a palaeontologist, but always presumed her advanced physical disability, and use of a wheelchair would make “diggin...

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September 3, 2023 30 mins

What do we know about the boundary between the Ediacarans and the Cambrians, an astonishing predator from the early Cambrian, and one of the things palaeontologists get asked about more than just about anything… How did some dinosaurs get so big?


We’re LIVE for a second time in Armidale for National Science Week at The Welder’s Dog Brewery, on Anaiwan country, also known as high country, in the state of New South Wales, Australia...

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August 29, 2023 30 mins

We’re LIVE in Armidale for National Science Week at The Welder’s Dog Brewery, and in this episode, recorded on Anaiwan country, we’re talking about the creatures that once dwelt in this place, and nearby.

Of dinosaurs such as “Lightning Claw”, giant marsupials that left teeth marks on the bones of other giant marsupials, and tiny fossils too small for the naked eye to see. Along the way, we talk about the extraordinary changes that...

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August 28, 2023 30 mins

In a special edition of Palaeo Jam, recorded LIVE at the Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip, guest host Professor Flint chats with some of his Western Australian palaeo pals, about their favourite fossils, their best moments in the field, and a broad range of other palaeo-themed topics.


In a chat amongst friends, we hear about the group’s favourite fossils that include a giant skink, a tree kangaroo on the Nullarbor Plain, an...

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August 26, 2023 30 mins

World renowned geologist, Professor Walter Alvarez once noted that…

“Rocks are the key to Earth history, because solids remember but liquids and gases forget.”


In this episode of Palaeo Jam, host Michael Mills chats with Professor Tom Raimondo about how learning about our local geology can help us better connect to where we live. Of how rocks are places where stories from the past are etched, and that by learning to read the rock...

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August 24, 2023 30 mins

The Virtual Museum of Australian Palaeontology, or VAMP, as it is known, was launched several months ago to much acclaim. So, what is it, why does it matter, and how has it been going?


In another episode recorded live during the Palaeo Jam National Science Week tour, we discuss why in an age of of misinformation, it is important that researchers and the public have access to information, and why projects such as VAMP are a great ...

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August 22, 2023 30 mins

Before there were dinosaurs, Queensland, Australia was home to a fascinating array of reptiles, amphibians, and the ancestors of mammals. And then, 252 million years ago, just about everything on Earth died! So let’s talk who survived, and why!

In an episode supported by National Science Week, host Michael Mills is joined by Dr Espen Knutsen, Senior Curator of Palaeontology at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, and James Cook Unive...

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August 19, 2023 30 mins

A palaeontologist and an archaeologist walk into a bar… The Afterlife Bar, that is, at the Western Australian Museum, Boola Bardip, thanks to National Science Week. So, then what happened? Listen in, to find out!


We’re in Perth, Whadjuk Country, Western Australia, and we’re here to talk about dead things, how we find them, what we do with them when we’ve found them, and what those dead things might tell us about the past! We’re a...

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Join us on a journey to explore the remarkable fossil heritage of South Australia, and why its prehistoric story matters not just to South Australians, but to the the whole world.


In this episode of Palaeo Jam, recorded live at Flinders University, on Kaurna Country, host Michael Mills is joined by PhD Candidate Phoebe McInerney of Flinders University, Associate Professor Diego Garcia-Bellido from the University of Adelaide. and ...

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August 16, 2023 30 mins

The Naracoorte Caves in South Australia are a World Heritage fossil site whose stories are many and varied. Part of the story of the Caves is the story of the people who work there, do their research there, or in the case of Palaeo Jam host Michael Mills, occasionally record podcasts and sing songs there. In another fascinating episode, recorded as part of National Science Week, we explore the connection of several different people...

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August 12, 2023 29 mins

In 2022, the first fossil body of an Australian long-necked plesiosaur with the head still attached was discovered in outback Queensland. In this episode, recorded live in Townsville, Wulgurukaba Country, for National Science Week, Palaeo Jam host Michael Mills, is joined by palaeontologist Dr Espen Knutsen, and public programmes officer Claire Speedie, in an exploration of the importance of this extraordinary discovery, and why it...

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August 6, 2023 30 mins

Naracoorte Caves in South Australia are home to a remarkable fossil heritage of Pleistocene life. The story of Naracoorte, though, is not just the story of it’s fossil heritage. It’s the stories of the community and the connection of lots people to the caves and that heritage. In this first episode for Season 2 of Palaeo Jam, we speak to several community members to hear their stories of the Naracoorte Caves. In so doing, we seek t...

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March 24, 2023 29 mins

In our final episode for Season 1, Palaeo Jam host Michael Mills chats with Dinosaur University Dean of Science, and singing palaeontologist, Professor Flint. During the conversation, The Prof is asked what came first... His love of dinosaurs, or his love of music? He also gives some insights into why he thinks art and science are two sides of the same thing. And when asked about where he would go back in time to, if he had the cha...

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