Episode #945

News Items

Who's That Noisy

  • Answer to last week: bread

Question #1: Metazoans

  • I am a big fan of the SGU and pod! I noticed that on the Aug 12 science or fiction, the item about ctenophores was fiction as stated because it was missing a word. For the item to be science, it needed to be ‘ctenophores are the oldest extant *metazoan* branch of life’ , and by metazoan I basically mean multicellular animal. There are some much older extant branches of non-metazoan life. For example, cyanobacteria and archaea that form stromatolites have been around for a few billion years and can still be found alive in the Bahamas. The source of the ctenophore statement is a recent paper in the journal Nature (Schultz et al. 2023) showing evidence that ctenophores were the first animals, challenging a decades long consensus that sponges were the first animals. Thank you all for this great podcast, community, and outlet for my pedantry! I started listening years ago as a broke grad student, and just became a patron. Lastly, huge congrats to Dr. Santa Maria! Cheers, Lauren

Science or Fiction

Skeptical Quote of the Week.

“The tantalizing discomfort of perplexity is what inspires otherwise ordinary men and women to extraordinary feats of ingenuity and creativity; nothing quite focuses the mind like dissonant details awaiting harmonious resolution.” — Brian Greene