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Re: SVPCA 2000, part 0.
As usual Darren is accurate, impartial and succinct in his post... qualities
that are admirable and that I thoroughly lack!
SVPCA was an interesting experience.
I was specially happy to meet for the first time people like Dino Frey that
set alight the show with German charisma (not a contradition of terms in his
case) converting everyone in pterosaur lovers.
In a private talk I had with him, his enthusiasm and descriptive capabilities
made me visualize pterosaurs in a way that not even ace David Peters has done
to me before. I'm looking forward to work with him in the future... pterosaurs
were mostly silvery shining (wing blubber to repeal overheating) and divided
in top and bottom deckers! The sight of a Quetzalcoatlus taking to the air as
a flamingo must have been awe-inspiring.
The other talk that impressed (and almost converted me) was from David Unwin
and also about pterosaurs but this time about their ancestry. His arguments
and use of cladistics was convincing enough to remove pterosaurs from the
Ornithodira and out of Archosauria and get them right into prolacertiforms and
the like(something that might explain Cosesaurus, Megalancosaurus and others).
He made special emphasis of Sharovipteryx as a pterosaur ancestor in an
excellent analysis of the fossil and with great, detailed photographs. He
reckons that he still has to analyze the fossil more thoroughly to come with a
definitive conclusion... but he is close.
I didn't find many of of the other talks extremely informative and too many
dealt with classification (with the exception of Darren Naish new theropod,
that was obviously the star of the show and the graphic motif not only of the
symposium but of the T-shirts). The talk that specially did not impress me
was Paul Davis' 'dinosaur fluff' one... The man forgot to do his homework. I
detected a worrying, very familiar tendency of ignoring or twisting evidence
'with a purpose' (Oregon Snowflakes I call it). He admitted to thoroughly and
willfully leaving out evidence and specimens just because 'he hadn't seen
them'... is that an excuse?
I also detected a worrying tendency of 'fear of too lively debate' in general.
Raising hell is not precisely for the British liking.
Anyway, and since I was invited (and I'm very thankful for that) I decided to
fluff some feathers. I hope my small colourful display didn't blind too many
people. Worst: Almost everything I exhibited was feathered so...you can
The organization was good (a definitive tribute to Stig Walsh) and meeting old
or new friends like Marco Signore, Per Christiansen, Eric Buffetaut, Dougal
Dixon, Sandra Chapman, David Martill, Darren and the many more was worth it.
Apart from the awesomely ridiculously low prices that the casts, publications
and books went for in the auction (I would have recommended going if only for
that!) I was really impressed by the fossils displayed. This is another matter
for debate and I generally don't support the politics behind it, but I could
only marvel at the Brazilian collection of fossil fishes, crocodiles, lizards,
insects and so forth that a German dealer brought with him. Some of the
fishes were fully three-dimensional!
But the star was the display of the sauropod leg from the Isle of Wight.
Beautifully preserved and thankfully not for sale.
I think SVPCA could grow in the future, have a definitive and stronger impact
and become an European SVP or something similar. David Martill has something
good in his hands.
Keep fingers crossed.
Visit my website on http://www.ndirect.co.uk/~luisrey