In this week’s episode of the Science Focus Podcast we’re investigating long-extinct animals. No, not dinosaurs, they get plenty enough coverage already. Instead we’re going to look at creatures that lived in the Pleistocene era, a period of time that covered the last known ice age.
During this period enormous creatures roamed the Earth, with some surprising animals making what we now know as the British Isles their home.
What makes these often-enormous animals so interesting is that they lived and evolved side-by-side humans and other early human species, which means we have more than just fossilised bone fragments to learn from – we have cave art, sculpture, tools and even cooking utensils that we can use to build our understanding.
Ross Barnett is a palaeontologist, whose recent book The Missing Lynx: The Past and Future of Britain’s Lost Mammals (£16.99, Bloomsbury Wildlife) explores the story of Britain’s lost megafauna.
He speaks to our online assistant Sara Rigby about Britain’s biggest beasts, humans’ role in their extinction, and what they can teach us about the future of conservation.
Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:
- Samantha Alger: What can we do to save the bees?
- Brian Switek: How did bones evolve?
- Mark Lynas: Could leaving nature to its own devices be the key to meeting the UK’s climate goals?
- Brad Lister: Are we facing an insect apocalypse?
- Steve Brusatte: The truth about dinosaurs
- Neil Gemmell: The genetic hunt for the Loch Ness Monster