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Just flew back from SVP...



...and boy, are MY forelimbs tired... :-)

I'll give a longer update later, but here are just some dinosaur highlights:

LOTS of new ankylosaurs coming out of the woodwork... er, sediments.  The
nodosaurid-ankylosaurid distinction is very subtle, and much has to be
revised.  Many characters once thought derived (i.e., triangular hornlets)
in Ankylosauridae seem instead to be primitive to Ankylosauria as a whole.
There is NO evidence for a polacanthine tail club: this is an example of the
importance of on-site specimen examination.  Several new taxa proposed (here
and at the on-going Early-to-mid K symposium).

Dino lung talks: a lot of them.

A fair number of histology papers, including: a) why you should NOT use LAGs
as "tree rings" in aging dinosaur specimens (as Padian et al. showed, you
can get different answers from different bones in the same specimen).
Kristi Curry presented three different histological lines of evidence which
dovetailed on the same answer: _Apatosaurus_ may have taken only ten years
or so to reach adult size.

Taxonomic/systematic things:
Hypsilophodontia seems destined for the wastebasket; _Probactrosaurus_ may
(Norman) or may not (Sereno) be the sister group of Hadrosauridae; Oliver
Rahut's poster on the deconstruction of Ceratosauria was (sadly) not
present; there is no positive evidence demonstrating "Dilophosaurus"
_sinensis_ IS _Dilophosaurus_.

New data on _Velociraptor_, oviraptorids, and ornithomimids from yet more
astonishingly great specimens from Mongolia.  Alcober et al. preseneted a
new carcharodontosaurid form Argentina, including the first carch furcula:
these guys were very pneumatic.  Sereno et al. presented a giant new
spinosaurid from Niger (more details later, but suffice it to say for now:
there are even more croc-like features in these guys skulls than just their
teeth and shape).  Scipionyx: new photos.

How secure IS the evidence for dino lips or dino cheeks?  Not very, on
morphological grounds.  The cheek part, though, is bound to be the most
contraversial: expect some rebuttals next year.

Announcment on the Ostrom Symposium at Yale on Feb. 13-14, to coincide with
the arrival of the Liaoning fossils at the Peabody.

Oh, and Josh Smith mentioned something about the forthcoming feathered
therizinosauroid from Liaoning: more on this in the near future...

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:tholtz@geol.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661