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Podcast 5 - transcript

Podcast theme - What came before

This episode was created during lockdown and a timely reflection on what came before us.

Hear about historical figures from World War 1 to extinct species because of climate change and unearthed ancient fossils as Suzie takes you back in time with our UCL experts:

TRANSCRIPT

This is MadeAtUCL: The Podcast. Bringing you closer to the UCL research answering life’s big questions. From engineering to art, healthcare to space exploration, ancient artifacts to the technology of the future.

Episode five: What came before

***

[upbeat theme music]

Suzie McCarthy

This is MadeAtUCL: The Podcast. Bringing you closer to the UCL research answering life’s big questions. From engineering to art, healthcare to space exploration, ancient artifacts to the technology of the future.

Episode five: What came before

[music ends]

Hello! I’m Suzie, welcome to episode five.

 

A lot has changed since our last episode, with the coronavirus pandemic putting countries into lockdown and I really hope you’re all staying safe and well. We’ve got plenty of recordings from the brightest minds at UCL, and we’ll be continuing to bring them to your ears. I hope we can offer you a little entertainment whilst you’re at home.

 

This episode, we bring you three stories focused on what came before us. From historical figures, to extinct species and ancient fossils, we’ll be delving into our past to learn about our present and dipping a toe into the future too. So put on your best time travellers clothes (or, you know, just stick with your pyjamas), as we start with a picture...

 

Suzie (in the interview)

...hard to describe a photo, isn't it?  He's quite handsome, I think… [laughs] I don’t know...

 

Vicky Price 

He's really handsome! And he's, he’s very strong featured. He didn't come from a wealthy family. His family were really struggling financially. Um, but he has a look of Yeah, of sophistication, doesn't he?

 

Suzie McCarthy (in the interview)

Yeah, there’s something in his eye

 

Suzie McCarthy (voice over)

We're looking at a photo of Isaac Rosenberg, a former student at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art.

 

Vicky Price 

I read an anecdote that everybody felt he was a very gifted painter, but he was a bit scatty. He ruined a whole number of canvases he recently painted just by stacking them up against each other while they were still wet, apparently. And so I really love this idea of this gifted, talented artist who was just I mean that's… that's a young man or even a teenager, that kind of mistake, you know, it's just impatience to your artwork to dry and you're just stacking it up. And, you know, and he was he was so young, he would have been, you know, as young as our first and second year students at UCL now.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

The photo comes from UCL Special Collections, which is a division of the university library services. The collection contains 10,000 metres of rare books, archives and manuscripts. And it also includes UCL own documents representing the history of the university.

 

I'm looking at just some of this collection with:

 

Vicky Price 

Vicky Price and I’m head of outreach for UCL Special Collections.

 

Suzie McCarthy

Vicky's job is to make sure this collection of rare and unusual items is accessible to as many people as possible. The collection is made up of documents from all over and these include information about the scatty artist Mr. Rosenberg, who was at UCL at the beginning of the 20th century.

 

Vicky Price

So in front of me I've got a copy of Isaac Rosenberg's student record card. And you can see initially information was typed onto it, his name is at the top, and you can see his birthday has been put in by hand underneath his name. And then typed on the center of the card is his address 150, Oxford, Mile End and his guardian's name is written there. You can see by hand other addresses have been added on you can see there's one fountain pen, and that's definitely... In fact there's probably two, if you look at the difference in ink. And they're obviously new addresses, because each thing has been crossed out, I would guess every time he's moved home. And he was a student, so I guess you would move quite regularly. You might decide to live with a different friend or you might  decide to live... move back with a family or live with a guardian. And you can see there's a blue pencil also that's crossed out some of these addresses that maybe was later or earlier we can't tell exactly. And but then what's most striking about this in particular is that the whole thing has been crossed out first with a pencil and then with a red pen. [sound of pen scratching]

 

It's an official record and someone's put this big red cross across the whole thing. And it looks like it's been done quickly. Not, it hasn't been done with a ruler, it's freehand. And what's been typed over the top is killed in action. [reflective music]

 

By hand, they've added 1914 to 18, which tells us it was definitely the first world war he was involved in.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Isaac Rosenberg is today known for his celebrated war poems, which he wrote from the trenches. He died not long after the Battle of the Somme where he fought. In 2018, Vicky ran a series of workshops with primary and secondary school students across London to teach them about the Somme as part of a project called Shrouds of the Somme, which marked the centenary of the First World War. She took these documents into the classroom with her. And some pupils were quite excited to take a closer look.

 

Vicky Price 

I certainly remember handing out the record card, which clearly states his initial address, which is his family address in Mile End. And I don't say anything about ,  I just handed them out and said, 'Have a look, see what you think it is'.

 

And it was one of the year nines, so a secondary school pupil, looked down and said, 'That's just down the road for me, is he from where I'm from?'

 

And I was like, 'Absolutely, he's from where you're from. And this is just 100 years ago. And he was perhaps six or seven years older than you are now, at this point when this document was first made for him'.

 

And it was a perfect starting point.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Somehow this little yellowed card allowed the students to go back in time.

 

[reflective music]

 

Vicky Price

I mean, it's just a record so it wasn't created to make you feel anything. But it does make you feel things we talked about who did the big cross? That almost seemed like it was, being defaced. We talked about was it being defaced? Or was that somebody who's just trying to make it clear on the record that someone who's no longer a student Slade? Or maybe they were... Was that person upset who did it? How did they feel, making the record that one of their students had died? And then we could have a discussion about whether or not that was a common occurrence at that time or not. And then we can start talking about loss of life on a large scale on the homefront. What happened back at home when lots of young men were killed?

 

And you don't, you don't know for sure, you cannot get to find out, exactly, you know, who did that cross, we'll never know. But because we're, we all admit that we will never know, we accept that, there's space for imagination and there's space for discussion around it.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Imagination might not be the thing that first comes to mind when we think of studying history. But to truly understand and feel the significance of huge events like the song, we need to do a delicate dance between facts and imaginings, to join up the individual stories contained in documents like these with the wider context of the war and its part in history.

 

Vicky Price  

For a topic like the Battle of the Somme, there are lots of gray areas and lots of very upsetting, subject matters to discuss and to explore. And you must make sure that you do that properly and that everybody has a chance to speak and is listened to. But we try and have some moments in the workshop where actually there's a question and you can get it right or wrong. We did activities where pupils were just asked to watch a short film and extract information about it in a really non emotional, cold way. So, when did the battle start? How long did it last for? How many people died?

 

Suzie McCarthy 

It began on the first of July 1916 and lasted for 140 days. Over 300,000 people died in total, including the German, British and French forces. The total killed and injured was around 1.6 million.

 

Vicky Price  

And then we start looking at actually what does that number really mean? As a visual number, what does that mean?  And then we start talking about Isaac Rosenberg’s experience and so he was one of those individuals. So we try and draw in the learner from a kind of basic: 'These are some facts',  through to a kind of a more emotional response.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

For some of the older children. This meant reading Isaac Rosenberg's now famous poem Break of Day in the Trenches, from the original manuscript which contains an early draft of the poem,

 

Vicky Price 

The darkness crumbles away.

It is the same old Druid time as ever.

Only a live thing leaps my hand, a queer sardonic rat.

As I pull a puppy from the parapet to stick behind my ears.

Droll subterranean! They would shoot you if they knew your cosmopolitan sympathies

And Lord knows what antipathies.

For you have touched an English hand

And will do the same to a German soon, no doubt

If it be your pleasure to cross the poppy blooded field between.

 

Suzie McCarthy (in interview) 

Wow.

 

Vicky Price  

Yeah, it's a message of a young man thinking about the other young men in the German army, who he's charged with trying to kill, and he really sees those as individuals, just like himself.

 

Suzie McCarthy (voice over)

Students also wrote their own letters and poems imagining themselves as soldiers in the trenches.

 

Martha

As I slept, it smelt like smoke and the wind shivered down my spine.

 

Gabby

I could see the end was not near, cries of the dead awoke.

Noone’s happy, only sick.

 

Martha

I was terrified as I felt a rat crawl on my arm. When I woke up, I heard mud squelching. It was so loud, all I heard was bangs and booms.

 

Gabby

Bang! There goes the bomb. Another 50 casualties.

There goes the gunfire.

I want to go home, I must fight for my country. Give them my all

 

Martha

After all the work I did, I was starving. I had to make a fire so I could cook my food. I heard lots of fighter jets flying past. It almost busted my ear drums and then almost made me deaf.

 

Gabby

It’s hard here. The foul smell of waste.

Except me, as your trustworthy soldier, I’ll do as you say.

 

 

Suzie McCarthy

Thanks to Martha and Gabby there,  who were reading from work written by students that attended Vicky’s workshop, Haider and Ishnaq.

 

[reflective guitar music]

 

My interview with Vicky was recorded at the end of 2019. But, putting it together for you now in the context of a global pandemic, it’s brought home to me the importance of connecting to our past and to the lives that have come before us.

It’s not just human history that we can learn from in shaping our future, but also the history of the natural world.

 

[playful strings and percussive music]

 

During lockdown, there’s been some potential good news stories, with reports of air pollution lowering, waters clearing and animals reclaiming once busy urban areas. You might have seen pictures of lions sunbathing on roads in Kruger national park in South Africa, which has been closed to visitors since the outbreak.

 

Images and stories like this are making our impact on the planet all the more obvious and gives us a chance to reflect on our relationship to the natural world.

 

Many scientists are referring to the current times as a sixth mass extinction. Since the 1500s. Somewhere between 680 and 700 vertebrate species have gone extinct.

 

[reflective string music]

 

Richard Pearson  

We can go back to the classic Dodo as one of the first that we know about. But then the Thylacene and more recently the Pinta giant tortoise back in 2012 was identified as going extinct.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Recent estimates suggest that the rate of extinction is increasing across all species.

 

Richard Pearson 

And the last mass extinction event was around 65 or so million years ago. Of course, that's what wiped out the dinosaurs. A recent assessment from what's known as IPBES (the Intergovernmental Panel for biodiversity and ecosystem services) estimated that there’s probably about a million species on the planet that are at high risk of extinction over the coming decades.

 

Suzie McCarthy  

This is:

 

[driving strings]

 

Richard Pearson 

Richard Pearson

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Professor of ecology at UCL.

 

Richard Pearson 

Essentially I'm interested in questions around...kind of, why species are vulnerable to extinction.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Richard spends his days crunching numbers over a computer screen, creating models and predictions as to how the populations of mammals and birds, insects and worms, plants and fungi are changing around the world.

 

He also happens to have taught me while I was at UCL myself. Being in his class made me aware of the impact humans have had on the natural world and the threats that species have to their survival. I wondered how Richard copes with all these worrying predictions. So it sort of surprised me to hear him say this:

 

Richard Pearson 

You know we hear about biodiversity crisis and emergencies. But all is not lost. Everything's to play for.

 

Suzie McCarthy  

I was a bit confused: Surely what he’d taught me was that it is an emergency? The animals and plants are all dying, and we have to act now!

 

Richard Pearson 

The science certainly shows that biodiversity is in crisis. There's no doubt about that. So I'm not questioning that for a moment. But there are a ton of things that we can actually do to address this challenge.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

But it looks to me like none of this is happening fast enough. And even worse, governments around the world also seemed to keep doing and saying some pretty unhelpful things that get in the way of conservation.

 

Richard Pearson 

Whilst you have at the extremes, you know, Trump administration in the US dismantling environmental protections, it was only I think 2017 that Barack Obama said, if you were going to be born at any time in history, you'd be born today. And I think that's absolutely true. In terms of literacy rates, in terms of child mortality, in terms of life expectancy, the progress that we've made on those kinds of fronts is just phenomenal.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

But surely there's no use progressing these kind of areas if we don't have a healthy planet to live on?

 

Richard Pearson 

I'm actually not... I mean, huge challenges, but we haven't lost biodiversity yet. And there are a whole bunch of things that we, that we can do. And there are reasons to be, to be positive.

 

Of course, we're not going to be able to achieve zero hunger and zero poverty unless we conserve the  environment. Nature is absolutely fundamental to so many of the other goals that we have as a society.

 

[sounds of bees, rivers, birds]

 

We like to live in a world that has tigers and polar bears, but it's, it's also the little critters: the insects that pollinate our crops and our soils and move nutrients around and clean our water. We are part of nature and we simply couldn't exist without the rest of nature.

 

[reflective music]

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Whether we respond to this crisis with sorrow and fear or with hope and optimism, if we're going to have any chance of saving species, we need to understand what exactly threatens the many lives on our planet, and the most effective ways to protect them. This is what Richard is really interested in.

 

Richard Pearson  

The main threats really that we need to address are habitat loss, habitat fragmentation. The rates of deforestation are extremely high, so we need to protect habitats of species.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Another threat is exploitation of species:

 

Richard Pearson

That is just overharvesting, fishing is the classic example but bushmeat as well as a big issue.

 

Suzie McCarthy

Then there’s pollution:

 

Richard Pearson

Plastics, PCBs and other chemicals that get into water streams into the season to freshwater systems.

 

Suzie McCarthy

And invasive species:

 

Richard Pearson

So these are these species that get moved around the world by humans be it in ships or aeroplanes and then invade new areas and cause damage to local environments.

 

Suzie McCarthy

One part of Richard's job is to assess which species are most vulnerable to extinction because of these threats. He, alongside many ecologists around the world, analyse data collected in the field about species numbers and locations, and create lists of endangered, threatened and vulnerable species such as the IUCN Red List.

 

Richard Pearson

One of the main contributions that we’ve been working on is to try to anticipate which species are going to be more threatened over the coming decades. It’s one challenge to kind of look back over what’s happened over the last few decades, but can we actually anticipate into the future? Then we need to use computer simulations and cool methods like that.

 

Suzie McCarthy

These simulations allow conservationists to prioritise their efforts to protect the species most at threat of extinction in the near future.

 

But now, a new threat on the horizon: climate change. Until recently, there hasn't been any way of factoring that into these assessments. But back in 2014, Richard and his colleagues focused their research on building new models to rectify this.

 

Richard Pearson 

So one of our key aims was just to ask well, is it some of the usual suspects? Things like small populations, limited range sizes, low dispersal ability? Is it is it these kinds of factors that that makes species vulnerable to climate change, just like vulnerable to other threats? Or is there something particularly special about climate change which is going to make them more vulnerable?

 

Suzie McCarthy  

By comparing how changing conditions in the past have affected species, Richard was able to build accurate models that predict how they’ll be affected by climate change in the near future.

 

And the results were sort of a non-finding, but a useful one! What they found was that the species that most affected by it are the usual suspects.They're the species already deemed at risk by other threats. So, he has another surprising perspective:

 

Richard Pearson 

Biodiversity loss is not all about climate change by, by any means actually. Really, the, the threat to biodiversity or what we refer to as synergies so links and interactions between different threats.

 

Suzie McCarthy  

This is where those all important details and nuances are crucial to understand. Species have always adapted to changing conditions. But in order to do so...

 

Richard Pearson 

They need to shift their ranges, they need to be able to change their life cycles. And the more they're threatened by other factors, the more at risk they are.

 

Suzie McCarthy  

So for example, climate change means many species are needing to move several kilometers towards the poles or up slopes to cooler locations as their old habitats get warmer.

 

Richard Pearson  

Well, that's all very well if, if there isn't a golf course and a road and the housing block in the way...

 

[sounds of golf balls being hit, a  busy playground and a large vehicle passing]

 

The more we fragment and dominate landscapes, the less opportunity species have to naturally respond. So that's really why climate change from a biodiversity perspective is such a big issue. It's, it's the combination with other factors.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

The conventional way of conserving species has been to build protected areas where humans aren't allowed to hunt and kill animals or to build roads or houses.

 

Richard Pearson  

But you can't protect from climate change because climate change doesn't respect the fences that you put round protected areas. So we need to be thinking about landscapes that are well connected.

 

[busy marimba music]

 

Instead of small reserves in certain parts of the world, we need to be thinking about whole landscapes that have networks of reserves that are connected. So you can imagine as one protected area becomes unsuitable for species as the climate's changing, it can actually jump to the next part of the landscape that's suitable or moving along corridors. Or some people even say that we should be actually picking up certain species and shifting them to areas that are becoming more, more, suitable. So there, there are all sorts of things that that we as a society can be doing.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

And understanding how the combination of these threats interact is what's going to allow us to prevent mass extinction and to bring those numbers down from the one million prediction. Seeing that there are things that can be done keeps Richard working hard to understand all those details. And he sees now as a real opportunity to shape our planet and its future for the better.

 

Richard Pearson  

We often talk about the Anthropocene, the age of mankind, if you like. We have such an influence on the planet now that we really are, in a kind of geological sense. People will look back or or some organism will look back at some point in thousands of years time and say, ‘This was the age of humans!’

 

We really have the opportunity to do something over the next few decades, but it's going to take a turning round how we, as a society, treat nature.

 

[optimistic marimba music continues]

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Speaking of the organisms of the future…
 

[reflective music]


Our last story is about finding what other life there might be in our universe.

 

Dominic Papineau 

My name is Dominic Papineau. I am an associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at UCL and also a principal investigator at the London center for nanotechnology and I'm also the director of the Center for planetary science here at UCL Birkbeck.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Dominic has been doing work funded by NASA, which needs him to look far back into Earth's past to help them understand what might be going on on other planets.

 

Dominic Papineau 

NASA and ESA are both planning on sending rovers to Mars in the, in this year, in 2020. And the rovers will both arrive in 2021 to Mars because it takes about six months to travel there. But the explicitly stated goals of those two missions are to search for biological signature[s].

 

Suzie McCarthy 

A biological signature (or bio signature) being something that gives evidence that living things existed. It might be the presence of organic matter, such as cells, or even bigger structures like bones. Fossils are also bio signatures because they were created by the decay of a living thing. There's even such a thing as a techno-signature! A lamp for example is evidence of our ability to harness electricity and create artificial light. It could also be a bio signature because it indicates intelligent life. The problem is there's not a whole load of really obvious bio signatures of ancient life forms just lying around, either here on earth or out in space

 

Dominic Papineau

...besides the skull of a T rex in an outcrop, right? So we have to consider bio signatures as possible signatures of life.

 

Suzie McCarthy  

These possible bio signatures can be a lot more intricate signs of life. Like finding certain chemicals that can only belong to a living thing, or a tiny formation in a rock made by a biological process.

 

If you get enough of these tiny possible signs together, you have a pretty good claim for the presence of life.

 

Dominic Papineau 

That is the old age question! Are we alone in the universe?

 

[space music]

 

Which is a fantastic, like mind blowing question that everybody wants to know.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

But to identify new bio signatures, they need to know what to look for. And the best place to figure that out is right here on Earth.

 

Dominic Papineau 

It's so I guess the story all began when I went in the field back in 2008, in northern Quebec in Canada, investigating various aspects of that super crustal belt, which are these very ancient crustal remnants of the early Earth.

 

[music returns]

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Because they're so old and formed where there's been a lot of movement of tectonic plates, the rocks are all folded up on themselves. All that folding and gradual movement over millions of years and under high pressure has changed the minerals into new forms.

 

[rocks crumbling]

 

Dominic Papineau 

So that tends to erase any kind of primordial signature that was there initially.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

I looked up a photograph of these supracrustal belts and on the surface they basically look like a load of grey rocks... I probably wouldn't think twice about them if I walked past. Yet Dominic knows that there's something a lot more special about them, which is why he went to investigate this particular belt in Quebec.

 

Dominic Papineau  

And that one is called a Nuvuaqituk supracrustal belt, which is an Inuktitut name,

 

Suzie McCarthy

(That’s one of the main inuit languages of Canada)

 

Dominic Papineau

Which means a small hill. And indeed the outcrops there are very, very nice. There were glaciers there up on... up until about 8000 years ago.

 

[sparse guitar music, sounds of water]

 

So there's very little soil, there's very little growth there. No trees, no grass. I don't know if you can imagine the kind of landscape... It's very rocky, and you're right on the side of the Hudson Bay.  So it's very beautiful, very picturesque, with beautiful islands off the shore. And when you have a beautiful sunny day, it's fantastic.

 

But it's very challenging work because rocks of that age, I'm talking about at least 3.75 billion years and potentially these rocks (and that's debated) potentially these rocks are 4.28 billion years old. Which makes them the oldest rocks on earth that we have.

 

That that is why most people assume that there are no fossils of that age. And even me, I was not thinking I was gonna find fossils [laughs]. I was not looking for fossils when I went there back in 2008, I was looking for other kinds of biological signatures.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

The belt is made up of three parts, each with their own types of formations, and Dominic was looking particularly at the banded iron formations. And that's a part of the belt which was formed at the bottom of the sea. It's about three kilometers in length, but there was a small part of it that suddenly stood out.

 

[playful string music]

 

Dominic Papineau 

There was a patch just a few tens of metres in size. Instead of being the typical gray green banded iron formation, and this one was red! I got really excited when I saw that. [laughs] As you can see from my smile!

 

Because these rocks were accompanied by these orange rocks, which were loaded with iron rich carbonate. And there were also these patches of quartz like, which we called concretions. And they formed these beds, and they're very black, they're very hard. And they usually tend to contain fossils.

 

Hence, I was very excited in the field. I knew there was something special about these rocks and that they deserved more attention.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Dominic collected up the rocks and took them away with him.

 

Dominic Papineau 

I brought the big bag of rocks into my lab, and then many things happen... And eventually I end up here at UCL

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Because he had a special feeling about these rocks, he recruited post grad student Matthew Dodd to do a PhD examining them in as much detail as he could.

 

Dominic Papineau 

Matt did a lot of work, careful microscopy and micro raman imaging which consists in identifying the different minerals in a very thin slice of rock, about the thickness of a piece of paper, like glued on a glass slide so that it's it's solid enough to move around. And hold and behold he found these little filaments of hematite!

 

[busy marimba music]

 

You can imagine this, it's about the half the width of a human hair, but they're very long. So they look like very skinny, skinny hairs in there but they're made of hematite. And hematite is a, is a mineral that's made of iron oxide. Formula is FE 203. And it's essentially rust, so it appears red. And when we looked at those filaments, and more and more and more, we started to see structures within the filaments. And some of them had a twisted structure a little bit like a corkscrew that you would use to open a wine bottle. And that to us was one of the telltale sign that we're looking at something that's most likely biological.

 

[busy music returns]

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Essentially, the theory was that the question corkscrew shapes could be fossils of tiny living organisms from millions of years ago. This might not be enough on its own, but the team also found graphite, which is formed with carbon. Carbon is important because it's the building block of all biological life. Alongside the graphite, they found carbonate and appetite, which is the mineral that makes up our teeth and bones. All this together...

 

Dominic Papineau 

Was suggesting to us that indeed we were looking at many independent observations that were all converging towards a single explanation that they were living things in the distant past.

 

Suzie McCarthy 

Now, as with any good scientific process, the theory that is formations in the rocks are indeed evidence of very early life on earth is still being discussed. There are some who are sceptical and have attempted to find out if those shapes and the rocks and the minerals that were found could have been made by something that wasn't a living creature. Dominic's continuing to investigate the truth of the matter. Though he's fairly sure of his hypothesis, which would make the finding a pretty big deal.

 

Dominic Papineau 

First of all, if we're right, if it's true, it's a very important discovery because they represent therefore, the oldest fossils on Earth. It is a very... It has implications for what the earliest life forms look like. It has implications for the origin of life in terms of in which environment, it would have, it would have arisen. And ultimately, there are implications as far as planetary sciences are concerned.

 

To take a foothold on a planet life (or on any planetary body as a matter of fact, doesn't need to be a planet could be a moon) it takes a very short amount of time. And because that amount of time is shortened by our discovery, I think it increases the likelihood that extraterrestrial life exists.

 

[optimistic, reflective xylophone music]

 

Suzie McCarthy

So what’s next for Dominic’s research?

 

Dominic Papineau 

Well we're still working on these rocks, I want to go back there, I want to sample these outcrops more, I want to map them in more detail. And since that discovery already we have, we have documented a lot more bio signatures in terms of possible signatures of life. So now we're finding that it may be a much more complex microbial community. And these include arborescens structures that look like groups of filaments that are all attached to a main stem and are parallel aligned and all branching. And within these kinds of trees of filaments, we're now finding these small, small spheres. So, another kind of micro fossil in there. That will make it much more difficult, I think, to explain in non biological ways. We're will hopefully publish that work very soon.

 

[relaxed guitar music]

 

Suzie McCarthy 

That brings us to the end of this episode. From soldiers to species to fossils, I hope you've enjoyed our little journey from the past to the present.. and back again and maybe into the future too!

 

Do subscribe to Made at UCL on the app of your choice and get in touch with us over on Twitter with the hashtag #MadeAtUCL. You could even leave us a review on iTunes to let us know if you're enjoying the series so far.

 

On a personal and more important note, I hope you and your families stay safe and well in these difficult times.

 

[theme music]

 

Made at UCL: The Podcast is made by me, Suzie McCarthy. The executive producer is Nina Garthwaite.  Mixing support from Mike Wooley. We'd like to thank all our researchers for welcoming us into their labs and offices. #MadeatUCL is a campaign that brings to life disruptive thinking from UCL. Research presented in this episode was nominated and selected because of the impact it has made on everyday life and society. This episode is brought to you from UCL Minds, events, lectures and podcasts open to everyone.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Edited by Suzie McCarthy