Hooked on Common Descent

If there is a subject people are interested in, it is virtually guaranteed that there is a podcast somewhere devoted to it, and paleontology is no exception. Probably the best known of such podcasts is Palaeocast, which features interviews with paleontologists on various subjects. While Palaeocast is excellent in its own right, it is always nice to find another podcast to add to the small but growing list of those devoted to our prehistoric past. It is for this reason that I was pleased to discover The Common Descent Podcast, hosted by two gentlemen named David and Will. Upon listening to it, I can happily say that I will continue to do so, and will explain why.

Like Palaeocast, Common Descent has a particular subject to be discussed in each episode. But while Palaeocast tackles its subjects by interviewing an expert in said field, Common Descent generally consists of just the hosts talking about their chosen topic, though they are starting to include guests. The latter approach has its dangers, in that it can degenerate into off-topic rambling if one is not careful, but David and Will do a fine job of staying on track. While they do occasionally go on tangents, they are short and do not cause the podcast to drag, and are admittedly often entertaining. In addition, the two of them have an enthusiasm that is very infectious, often making me as ecstatic as they are about whatever it is they are discussing.

One advantage I have found of listening to podcasts is that they provide a good means to branch out my knowledge and interests. As much as I wish I could, I simply cannot read every book and paper on every subject that catches my eye, so these podcast episodes give me good summaries of topics I would otherwise not have the time to delve into. Common Descent does not disappoint in that regard. The episode topics range from specific groups of fossil animals to more broad and overarching subjects. Whatever it is they are talking about, they always do their research ahead of time, and it shows. They are even starting to take requests, as is the case with their latest episode on conservation paleontology. The opening news segment is also helpful, as it covers recent stories I may have missed.

So if you’re looking for another paleontology podcast to add some variety to your listening, I wholeheartedly recommend Common Descent. It has the combined benefit of being both informative and very fun to listen to, and I can’t wait to see what they will cover next.