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SOME SVP TIDBITS
You have already gotten some news from SVP from a few other posters, but here
are some extras that I thought were expecially interesting. First though, I
would like to publicly complain about a few aspects of this year's SVP.
Not only was SVP about 8000 feet higher than where I have been living 95% of
my life and that made walking difficult to say the least. The fact that the
talks were placed haphazardly in two different buildings 1/2 mile apart and up
and down a steep, often wet hill was anoying. I would have liked some sort of
choice in food choices as well. Snowbird is about 30 miles from any other
restaurant, and I was annoyed I either had to give into the overpriced food
monopoly at the hotel or go without eating. Unfortunately, going without food
happened more often than not.
Now to the talks: Barrett and Rybaczynski (seperately) gave talks about the
not so ordinary jaw movements of Scelidosaurus and Euoplocephalus
Sullivan gave a talk about a new ankylosaur from the Kirtland Formationthat
looks a lot like Tarchia and Saichania (as well as Shanxia and Tienzenosaurus
(sp?). Big knoby osteoderms on the head.... There is also a skull of
Prenecephale which makes one wonder why there is a very Asian fauna in New
Chatterjee gave a talk about Indian biogeography and tectonic history, but
said that he has a Triassic Pachycephalosaur, and then showed slides of India
breaking off of Antarctica and said nothing else about it.
Sampson gave a talk about the Madagascar fauna they are finding. Nothing new,
except two lower jaws from two new taxa with peculiar procumbant first dentary
teeth that look spinosaur like. Oddly enough, Angela Milner gave a talk where
she showed some spinosaur jaws with very similar procumbant dentary teeth, as
well as the front of a snout of Spinosaurus that looks an awful lot like
Baryonyx. There was some eating of crow on Milner's part and I will leave it
Sereno says that that Camarasaur has a head now, and that he has a new very
very very very long headed spinosaur that has an enourmously long and thin
head. He has named it and accidentally showed the name on a slide. Everyone
saw it, but not everyone caught it. No, I won't tell you, you can wait the <2
months to read the paper.
Jacques Gauthier gave an absolutely brilliant talk about digit and finger bud
homology. I don't understand it, but I will try to explain. In kiwi and
aligators, if you remove the first finger bud condensation, the finger arising
from bud 2 looks like digit one should have. This is a very oversimplified
version of his talk, but it is something taht solves one of the biggest
disagreements with paleontology and neontology. He also showed a slide of a
rather nasty pelvis of a lizard where the right side had the sacrum composed
of verts 29 and 30, and the left with verts 28 and 29. It was perfectly
formed and one of the weirdest things I've ever seen.
Buffetout gave a talk about some Thai iguanodonts. I believe he also gave a
poster about a very very robust (ponderous as they call it) iguanodont from
the gaudufau Niger. This is to be named Gravisaurus teneri (not sure of the
spelling). Very weird.
Winkler et al gave a poster on their Proctor Lake ornithopod. To quote them:
"homoplasy is rampant." The cladogram they present looks like there is a
single node with all taxa radiating out of it. Does anyone have any idea when
this will be written up?
Norman gave a talk about Probactrosaurus where he showed that it was probably
the closest outgroup to Hadrosaurs. The teeth look a whole heck of a lot like
lambeosaur teeth. He presented a cladogram that DIDN'T have Tenontosaurus as
an hypsilophodontid, and the cladograms that he actually put in a program
didn't link Probactrosaurus with hadrosaurs, but with iguanodonts actually.
Also, his trees shows that the genus Iguanodon is paraphyletic... More to be
learned from the forthcoming paper, though probably not for another 6+ months.
Scheetz gave a talk on Orodromeus and basal ornithopod systematics.
Hypsilophodontidae is VERY paraphyletic according to his analysis. More
details to come from his forthcoming paper describing Orodromeus in detail.
Clark shows that Oviraptor had a hypocleidium on the furcula, lateral xiphoid
processes on the sternum, and uncinate processes. Very neat.
Speaking of new Mongolian theropod stuff, Velociraptor has a hypocleidium on
the furcula, the shoulder girdle has a has a very tall corocoid, a latterally
facing glenoid (kinda and a nice acromion. Looks almost exactly like
Archaeopteryx. There is no cranial projection of the pubic boot, and there is
no ischial symphysis. The head is very narrow, and the choana is a lot
farther back than previously thought.
Currie gave a talk about Protarchaeopteryx and Caudipteryx. Nothing
extraordinarily new, as per the recent paper. He did say that you can see the
fine microstructure of the feathers on Protarchaeopteryx with SEM.
John Ruben gave a rather fascinating talk about Megalancosaurus. He thought
that it was a good analoug or model for an ancestor of birds, but he did not
think it was an ancestor or a sister taxon to birds.
"These Chinese dinosaurs, or something like them, might be the direct
ancestors of birds."
This was almost as unexpected as hearing Angela Milner say that Baryonyx was a
Spinosaurid. He thinks that birds might have been derived from Triassic
arboreal theropods, but doesn't think the debate is over. The manus and pes
are built for grasping, and the forlimb is always bent, suggesting that there
was a propatagium.
So, I was rather exhausted from this year's svp, but it was awesome fun. Two
lessons I got from it this year are:
1: Real scientists eat crow and admit they're wrong if they are.
2: Homoplasy is rampant.