In 1990, Mike Novacek followed in the footsteps of Roy Chapman Andrews, who had ventured into the Gobi Desert looking for fossils in the 1920s. Novacek and his team found hundreds of mammal fossils. In this interview, he describes the experience of discovering such a rich source and shares what we can learn from the bones of mammals that co-existed with dinosaurs.
Discuss two cases for which this interview explains the important combination of luck and ability to spot the unexpected in searching for fossils.
The reproductive habits in mammals are among the most important characteristics of the group. Explain how this interview reveals new evidence for hypotheses about reproductive evolution -- even though the soft tissues most intimately involved in this process do not fossilize.
This interview explicitly states a specific perspective on the relationship between mass extinctions and adaptive radiations. Describe and discuss this relationship as it applies to dinosaurs and mammals.
Discuss how Dr. Novacek's view of the relationship between the K-T extinction and the evolution of mammals refutes the old notion that evolution represents progressive improvement.
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