Episode #15 Sleeping Through Extinction with Christian Sidor

Dr. Christian Sidor tells the Nerds all about the ancestry of mammals, including a little creature that hibernated through the Permian-Triassic extinction, allowing reptiles to branch off and evolve into mammals.

Episode #15 Sleeping Through Extinction with Christian Sidor

Dr. Christian Sidor

Professor and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Burke Museum/University of Washington


Christian might have "forgotten" about paleontology for most of his childhood, but the passion was just waiting to find him in college where he dove into paleo. Christian has collected fossils from all over the world, including Niger, Morrocco and Antarctica!  

Christian studies the ancestry of mammals, and when you go back to around 320 million years ago where mammals diverged from reptiles things get a little weird.  We're talking corgi-looking lizard-mammals with beaks AKA Lystrosaurus.

Christian has travelled to Antarctica four times to collect specimens from the Permian-Triassic exctinction.

Lystrosaurus was one of the few creatures to make it through the Permian-Triassic extinction, and as Christian's work has recently shown, they survived by hibernating through the mass extinction happening around it. You can read about it in the NY Times!

Browse the Burke's collection of Antarctic fossils


Here's a list of all the creatures, places and people discussed in this episode:

Radio Story about gold bars found by a trawler 

Blue Lake Rhino, Paul Sereno, Spinosaurus, Suchomimus, Dimetrodon, Edaphosaurus, Cotylorhynchus, Caseids, Nigerpeton, Bunostegos, Lystrosaurus, Gorgonopsia, Therocephalia, Cynodonts, Dicynodonts, Biarmosuchus, Panthalassic Ocean, Pareiasaurs, Saharastega, Permian-Triassic Extinction, Morganucodon, Megalonyx, the Sea-Tac Sloth

Paleo News: New Mososaur Genus


What was that cool song I heard?