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Burpee Recollections

I've just returned from the Burpee Museum of Natural History's Fourth Annual 
Paleofest in Rockford, Illinois, where I had the opportunity to hear Bakker, 
Currie, Gabe Lyon, and HP Mike Everhart speak.  It was another great festival 
put together by the folks at the Burpee.  I'll do my best to briefly summarize 
what was said.

Bakker announced plans to begin constructing a traveling coal forest exhibit 
(with the Burpee Museum).  All indications seem to say that the project is for 
real, as he was collecting donations for it.  He hopes to complete it in a few 
years and arrange a traveling schedule that includes stops in the "coal states" 
of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, etc.  

Bakker also announced, for the first time (at least according to him), the 
discovery of a new Jurassic champsosaur in Wyoming that pushes back the lineage 
by 60 million years.  The new animal, which he nicknamed the Golum, was found 
on one of his commercial digs.  A paper is supposidely in preparation, and the 
remains include part of a scapula.  He unveiled a drawing of the animal to the 
public at one of his talks, and he seems to be talking about the animal very 
freely (none of that "wait for the paper" stuff :-))

Gabrielle Lyon showed photos of several new dinosaurs that Sereno and his team 
plans to study, name, cast, and unveil in the near future.  Included are some 
new sauropods and theropods.  And, of course, there are a few more 

Mike Everhart had many interesting things to say about mosasaurs.  Nothing very 
new or exciting...but he did a very, very good job presenting mosasaurs to both 
an adult and children's audience.

Phil Currie presented a talk on hunting behaviors in theropods.  Nothing 
extremely new here...just repetition of data on the fighting dinosaurs, his 
_Albertosaurus_ quarry, and a very brief description of the new (still unnamed) 
South American theropod.  

I also had the chance to assume the form of Jordan Mallon for a moment, and ask 
Dr. Currie about the tyrannosaurid skin.  He said that he knows of no paper 
describing it, but that his team is frequently coming across more tyrannosaurid 
skin (from several genera) in the field.  Basically, he seems to think that 
tyrannosaurids possessed skin that was ostensibly "naked," although he is still 
holding out for the discovery of a feather...

Those were the most exciting happenings at this year's fest...


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