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RE: T rex symposium
> From: Ken.Carpenter@dmns.org [mailto:Ken.Carpenter@dmns.org]
> Thought Tom Holtz would post, so I'll force his hand.
> The conference was great, with many good talks (some with great
> animation showing working parts). Those of you who did not make it will
> be kicking yourselves in years to come. There was an impromptu
> discussion on Nanotyrannus vs T rex in collections on Saturday, but I'll
> leave that to Tom to address. It was great to have the collections open
> and to see casts or real speciemens of various T rex and related
I was having email issues earlier today (and today's just a half-day for me:
got home after midnight...).
So, short form: Symposium was EXTREMELY good, in part because of a strong
focus, in part because of the small size, and a lot
because of the ability to do interactions. Some of the folks doing computer
simulations (e.g., Kent Stevens) were incorporating
suggestions from anatomists and the like right up to presentation time, for
instance. And the aforementioned "Nano vs. Baby rex"
discussions among the specimens.
The facilities were nice, especially given that Hill City is a small town, and
the presentations were in a highschool auditorium. It
was a good auditorium, though: nice seats, and nice projection equipment.
I left my materials at home, so I can't give a play-by-play of the whole event.
But here are some highlights in terms of
* Mary Schweitzer's showed ongoing work on that REALLY well-preserved medullary
bone in the T. rex femur (the one that was in the
journals over the last couple of months). Still more to come in this form of
* Ken Carpenter and Christine Lipkin gave updates on the work on T. rex
forelimb morphology and mechanical strength. Metacarpal III
is present, is a slender rod in some individuals, but a lumpier mess in others
(like Peck's Rex). This and stress fractures in
furculae and the like suggest repeated injuries to these, and hence they were
doing SOMETHING with them!!
* Kirk Johnson on the EXTREMELY good refinements of geochronology and
chronostratigraphy of Hell Creek and related deposits. The K/T
boundary now has a super-well supported date of 65.51 +/- 0.3 Ma, to be
replaced by an even BETTER refinement later this year. No T.
rex is older than 69.5 Ma, and they all well might be much younger: we may only
be looking at a 1-2 million year range for that
* Pete Larson supported the robust/gracile morphologies with some data plots.
Looking good on these lines.
* Hans Larsson's most excellent 3D animation of kinesis in the skull of Stan:
definitely some really interesting things going on in
* Philip Manning's talk on locomotion had a lot of great details; most
significant is the fact that nearly all tracks that we find
are NOT surface tracks, and most do NOT give us the actual foot size (since the
shape and size of the print changes as it propogates
down different sedimentary layer). Hence speed calculations etc. from trackways
must be used with much caution.
* Thom Carr showed updates on his ontogeny work in T. rex and A. libratus (G.
libratus to me, but that's okay).
* Tom Williamson (and Thom Carr) discussed distribution of different tyrant
species throughout western North America (but esp. the
* Phil Currie's review of Canadian T. rex discoveries was also a review of some
of his personal collecting history out in that neck
of the woods.
* Speaking of history, Brent Breithaupt summarized the history of T. rex in
Wyoming in particular, and Neal Larson about T. rex
history over all.
* Greg Paul summarized tyrannosaurs as swift predators.
* John Happ discussed an interesting specimen of Triceratops with healed-over
T. rex bite marks.
* Speaking of individual specimens, John Meyer and Kraig Derstler each
described different specimens "Pete" and "Peck's Rex".
Incidentally, the latter is the infamous Rigby tyrannosaur. All you have to do
is go to places with the mounted skeleton (for
example, the Maryland Science Center), to see that it isn't larger than other
specimens. Also, Mike Henderson talked about "Jane",
the juvenile T. rex or Nanotyrannus (depending on your taxonomic scheme).
* Ralph Molnar examined jaw musculature in T. rex, but didn't dwell on the
details (which, as he pointed out, would be better looked
at in the paper than in brief glimpses on screen).
* Bruce Rothschild and Kevin Donnelly and others looked at different patterns
of pathologies found in tyrannosaurids.
* Bill Abler's talk was rather philosophical, and only got to tyrannosaurs by
the very end, at which point he had run out of time.
* Marin Lockley's talk was also philosophical, but with a homeobox/heterochrony
* For my guild talk, see SVP last year. For my predation/scavenging
presentation, see my Step-Into-Reading book by Random House...
(Okay, this version had a lot more bivariate plots).
* Bakker's talk suggested that several adapations of the forelimbs and the
pubic boot in theropods were developed for dominance
rituals that mimic mating habits.
I would say big themes out of the whole conference were:
* Variation: Document it! Only then we can start answering when is it
taxonomic, and when is it ontogenetic.
* Pathologies: what do they say about the lifestyle of animals?
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Department of Geology Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland College Park Scholars
Building 237, Room 1117
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 301-405-4084 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax (Geol): 301-314-9661 Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796