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Burpee Recollections



Hey,
Here's a quick (ha!) recollection of the Burpee Paleofest for you listmembers 
who weren't able to go.  I was able to see a few of you, and would like to just 
say that it was a pleasure meeting you all.

Anyhow, we already know a little bit about Larson's talk on Friday.  Between my 
descriptions and Marco's postings, I bet you all have a pretty good idea of 
what he said.  So, I won't dive into that.

However, after that talk, while I was chatting with Pete, he told me that he 
has abandoned his original chevron hypothesis.  Now it does not appear that 
tyrannosaurs (or crocodiles, for that matter) lacking the final chevron are 
female.  Of course, listmembers (including myself)have attacked this view for 
awhile now, and it may not come as a big surprise.  I do hope that Pete 
publishes something on it, since his original paper is in print without any 
type of rebuttal.  

I was not able to attend Saturday and hear Niles Eldredge, Gabrielle Lyon, and 
Pete Larson's second talk.  However, Sunday was an enjoyable day.

University of Illinois professor Dennis Kolata spoke on the invertebrate 
fossils of Illinois, including the rich Ordovician and Silurian biotas, and, of 
course, the Mazon Creek fossils.  Don Lessem then gave a lunch talk aimed for 
children that highlighted recent paleontologial work, brought down to a child's 
level.  Karen Chin then spoke on her work on coprolies, including the 
recently-published T. rex coprolite.  

Lessem then gave a talk aimed for adults.  He spoke on large theropods, 
including the new discoveries in South America.  Unfortunately, he would not 
unveil Currie and Coria's name for the species.  He did say that a paper would 
be published in Nature or Science by the end of this year.  Also, fortunately 
for me, Lessem mentioned my website and writings several times during his talk, 
which I greatly appreciated.

The final talk of the day was Horner's.  He was supposed to talk on his new T. 
rex discoveries, but instead went against the program schedule and discussed 
how we do science.  He kept discussing good science, falsifiable hypotheses, 
and so on.  He also showed several slides of bone sections, attempting to show 
the bones of warm and cold blooded animals.

However, this is where he went astray.  For a man stressing such good science, 
Horner, in my opinion, made many assumptions and generalizations.  For 
instance, he told the audience that all animals with highly vascularized bones 
are (or were, in the case of dinosaurs) warm blooded.  But, he did not make a 
point of discussing environmental conditions.  I recommend reading some of 
Ricqules' papers.  He discusses how highly vascularized bone does not 
necessarily mean warm-blooded.  This bone could simply be the result of 
environmental factors or competition from other animals.  I was somewhat 
saddned to see Horner generalize with this.  However, overall, his talk was 
very good, and he made several good points that all scientists should remember. 
 In particular, he attacked Feduccia and Martin for not practicing good 
science, but instead formulating a hypothesis and trying to find fossils to fit 
it, not finding fossils and formulating a hypothesis based on the fossils 
themselves.

Overall, it was another great paleofest put on by the Burpee.  I recommend all 
paleofans in the Midwest to attend next year's fest!

Steve

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Steve Brusatte-DINO LAND PALEONTOLOGY
SITE: http://www.geocities.com/stegob
ONLINE CLUB: http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/thedinolanddinosaurdigsite
WEBRING: http://home.wanadoo.nl/dinodata.net/
INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE SITE: http://www.geocities.com/stegob/international.html
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