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Tracing the origins of an SVP urban legend...



I'm back from Denver and SVP'99.

I'll give more of a report at a later date.  Some technical highlights,
though:
Sauopods of the Cretaceous of Niger include both the most boring and the
most derived I've seen (two very different taxa); one of the Madagascar
titanosaurs is also quite odd looking;

Contra Ruben et al., many groups of dinosaurs have plenty of space in their
nasal passages to accomodate nasal turbinates; Witmer & Sampson suggest some
evidence for particular types of conchae in various large-bodied dinosaurs;

Josh Smith and company have rediscovered the original German Baharja sites
(the type locality of _Spinosaurus_, etc.), thereby demonstrating that any
loser can make an important paleontological discovery... :-);

Matt Bonnan kicked ass as one of the two Romer Prize recipients this year!
Good job;

"Sue" the _T. rex_ is as cool inside as she is outside;

and many more.

However, I'd like to ask a question of the list members.  Please respond
directly to me, because I don't think the list in general will want/need to
hear all the details.

In any case: as discussed on the vertpaleo list, Ruben et al.'s abstract was
originally rejected from the meeting, and was later installed at the end of
a session.  While at the meeting, a number of different individuals
(including list members) came up to me individually asking about me being
similarly "snubbed".  For these individuals (or others who heard this
rumor), please email me the name of the source of this rumor.  I'd really
like to know if it was a single individual, or if it arose independantly in
multiple lineages.

(For the record, my abstract was NOT rejected: it's there on p. 52A of the
abstract volume.  I conciously decided to do a poster session this year, as
I have given a talk at every SVP since 1991 (okay, two 20 minute talks at
1995, but only a poster at 1996), and thought I deserved a break.  Also, the
subject matter did not, in my opinion, lend itself to the most dramatic of
platform sessions...).

Finally, a term coined at this year's SVP: autosymplesiomorphy: a primitive
character found in only one taxon.

Talk to you later,

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796