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SVP 2002



All,

Just thought I should drop a quick note on SVP this year. I had a very good
time myself, despite missing numerous talks, posters, breakfasts, and sundry
other obligations. I was happy to see so many Dinolisters around, although
the absences of Brett-Surman, Buccholz, Headden and Naish, among many
others, were particularly troubling (oh, and I shouldn't leave out George,
for whom I still haven't bought a Dr. Pepper).

The OMNH did not disappoint. Let's just say... HUGE PENTACERATOPS. All must
now accept Ornithischia as their god (it's monotheism by monophyly). The
displays were great, although there were not enough hadrosaurs. I saw some
talks, too... The UT crowd did extremely well in their presentations... how
often do you get to see the skull of an elephant bird embryo, people? I
managed to miss many of the more talked-about talks... I also missed pretty
much all of the Ornithischian talks, unfortunately. Tom Lehman took a rather
less controversial stance in his talk on baby endothermic herbivores than I
expected, but from others' comments it appears that he planted the
appropriate seeds (if you'll pardon me). I hope you all go to see his talk,
he very rarely attends SVP!

I finally got to meet Farke, which was excellent. I learned that Scott
Hartman is coming along nicely with his work on hadrosaur necks (science
being applied to the problem? Who could have guessed...). I chatted for a
good long time with Nate Murphy about his new Brachylophosaurus mummy:
honestly, I couldn't tell anything from the pictures... sorry Dan, nothing I
can report there. Nate said that he felt the specimen demonstrated a sort of
intermediate, non-swan-necked, but not horse-necked morphology, but don't
quote me quoting him. Nate is a fantastic person (he's the grandson of Nelda
Wright... that's good enough for me), and the specimen appears to be quite
wonderful. I do have to be a little heretical on this one: I'm not sure we
aren't making too much of this thing. I am glad we have this specimen, and
from what I hear I will learn a thing or two about hadrosaur appearance. And
that is important.... How important? Earth-shattering? I don't really think
so. This does appear to be a much better mummy than has been found
previously, but I'm just not sure it is stop-the-presses important. I guess
if the press asked me I'd talk it up too, because frankly I don't think
anyone appreciates ANY of the mummies we have. Maybe I'm just mad because
all that skin is covering up a nice, complete Brachylophosaurus canadiensis
skeleton :).

    Anyway, Paper is forthcoming. Actually, through the efforts of Nate and
Ken Carpenter (whom I finally got to meet!), there may be more
Brachylophosaurus papers coming soon than we know what to do with. And why
do you suppose it is that only NICE people want to work on hadrosaurs? Along
those lines, a fella from Canada named David Evans did a really excellent
poster on the presphenoid in lambeosaurines. Sounds dull, but it was really
quite well done and interesting. I can't wait for him to publish.

And, of course, there were the usual hooligans and malcontents (Jerry Harris
and Josh Smith come to mind), as well as Mary Kirkaldy, whose camera is more
dangerous than her powers of list administration. Overall, this was a good
SVP; there was a lot of time to talk and it was very easy to find people.
The host committee did a super job, especially my personal hero, Kyle Davies
(the reigning King of the Big Bend Hadrosaurs). I hope more of you can make
it next year! I am told Dan Varner will be at SVP next year. I am already
making preparations... As for me, I'm gonna be practicing with those "how to
defend yourself verbally"-type tapes to prevent a repeat of the spanking I
received at the hand (tongue?) of Jerry.

Apologies to anyone for name misspellings, leaving anyone out, ignoring most
of the conference, etc... I am writing fast... I am supposed to be balancing
the checkbook right now... :)

Now back to "lurking" once more. Several people have commented that I have
disappeared recently, so, by way of summary: I am at UT, working with Tim
Rowe. I am still working on hadrosaurs, specifically biogeography,
intracranial and postcranial morphology, systematics, and figuring out
non-North American hadrosaurs (pray for travel money, folks). I have
recently been seen spending late nights with fish skeletons and running PCR
products out on agarose gels. I am still far too busy to have not published
something yet. I'm still dumb as a brick. And I do still read the List.

Oh, and I HAVE noticed that several of you have been through Austin
recently, and didn't look me up... FOR SHAME!

Wagner


Jonathan R. Wagner
2625-B Alcott Lane
Austin, TX 78748