[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Ah, the good old days



In a message dated 10/17/02 10:32:04 PM EST, GSP1954@aol.com writes:

<< This was not an issue at my first SVP in 78 (Toronto) when many scoffed at 
 dinosaurs as birds and the 1st dinodocumentary on TV (NOVA) had appeared the 
 year before. >>

Toronto 1978 was also my first SVP meeting. I met Greg there, and I recall 
him spreading out his sketches of Brachiosaurus on the floor for Jack 
McIntosh to chuckle over. I also met Mike Brett-Surman; I had hoped to meet 
Peter Galton, but he couldn't make it. That was the year that Peter Dodson 
and Dave Weishampel sponsored me to become an SVP member; hope they don't 
regret that too much.

Although Jack Horner did give a talk on hadrosaur skull kinesis, what really 
blew everyone away was his impromptu talk on hadrosaur nests and babies. He 
and Bob Makela had found the sites just that summer and everyone was dying to 
hear about them. Quite a career-booster; there was nothing else like it then.

I got to look through Jack's notebooks then, and he, Dave Weishampel, Mike 
Brett-Surman, and I had lots of fun trying to figure out what this Asian 
dinosaur skull was whose photo Jack had dug out of some foreign dinosaur 
exhibition catalogue. We now know it as Altirhinus kurzanovi, but then it was 
the weirdest thing we'd ever seen. I realized from looking through those 
notebooks that paleontologists know a lot more than they let on in their 
talks, which are like the tip of an iceberg.

At the time of the meeting I had just finished pasting up with my own two 
hands the first issue of Mesozoic Meanderings, which was to become my 
self-published version of my computer dinosaur list, and I was carrying the 
galleys around to show to anyone who was interested. I had been employed by 
the University of Toronto Computer Centre for more than a decade then, and 
like every Centre employee I had my own account to do with as I pleased (when 
I started working there, the computer was an IBM 7094, but by the time I left 
it had been traded in for one of the System 360s). I used my account for, 
among other things (such as making computer art and drawing four-dimensional 
objects), keeping track of dinosaur names, my comic book collection, and 
orbiting objects from artificial satellite launches. It was the dinosaur-name 
thing that got me into the SVP. I think there were fewer than 500 named 
dinosaur genera in 1978, and now there are 958.