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Overview of the Dinosaur Park Symposium

Hi all,

Sorry for the cross posting - it's just easiest.

The Dinosaur Park Symposium held at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada this past weekend was a complete success. It was at full capacity and everyone seemed to have a great time.

It was great to see everyone and have a chance to chat with friends I haven't seen since last years SVP. The conference was relaxed with no running between symposia, and as always, the exhibits were fun to see. The Ice-breaker on Friday night was fun, as was the BBQ Saturday night.

Congratulations to Dave Eberth, Don Brinkman, Phil Currie, Dennis Braman and everyone else at the Tyrrell for doing such a wonderful job!

Here's a quick overview of the talks held this weekend:

David A.E. Spalding gave a wonderful keynote speech on Saturday morning regarding the general history of Dinosaur Provincial Park (DPP).

Darren Tanke spoke about the history of digging in DPP as well as quarry staking and quarry garbage. And if I may say so - he did a wonderful job! (I may be a bit biased since he's my boyfriend!). ; )

Phil Currie gave a talk on GPS usage in the park and reminded us to check out the CD in the back of the new Indiana University Press DPP book to see where all the quarries map out.

Ian Campbell gave a very interesting talk on the formation of the badlands of DPP and showed some great satellite images that indicated the glacial flow through the region.

Dave Eberth gave a couple of talks - the first of which he mentioned all the projects that yet to be done there. His second talk was about fossil preservation and taphonomic processes in DPP, which had me riveted.

Rob Hugill, who is bascially in charge of DPP from a government standpoint, gave a talk on the management of DPP including rules and regulations of collecting.

John Acorn gave a very funny talk on the natural history of DPP which included some pictures from the 1970s of both Bruce Naylor and Dr. Richard Fox. Thanks for keeping the beetle pictures down to just two, John!

Hilary Tarrant, who was a park interpreter for seven (I believe) years showed a slide show of beautiful pictures from DPP.

Dennis Braman highlighted the fossil plant research in DPP which was followed up by Eva Kopplehus discussing the tree specimens that were there during the Campanian and then Ruth Stockey discussed the *Pistia* fossils from the Ornithomimid quarry.

Andy Neuman of the Tyrrell, gave a talk on the new Myledaphus specimen from DPP and then Don Brinkman talked about the turtles of DPP.

Rober Reisz talked about the oldest known dinosaur embryos (no, they weren't from DPP, but were interesting anyway).

Karen Chin gave a talk about woody coprolites from Montana.

Mike Getty talked about the enormous Grand Staircase Escalante Nat'l Monument in Utah and compared it to DPP. Very interesting!

Julia Sankey discussed vertebrate paleoecology in Big Bend Nat'l Park.

Then on Sunday, Scott Sampson started us off with a very enthusiastic keynote speech regarding the DPP terrestrial ecosystems. And I have to say that Scott is one of the best speakers out there!

Phil Currie then talked about theropod dinosaurs of DPP followed by Hans Larsson going way over my head and talking statistics regarding theropod endocrania and brain size. I'll never look at a Coke can in quite the same way!

Don Henderson gave a great talk about the biomechanical limits in body size in theropods.

Matt Vickaryous spoke about ankylosaurs from DPP.

Bob Sullivan spoke about pachycephalosaurs from DPP.

Dave Evans spoke about Hadrosaurs from DPP followed by Michael Ryan who spoke about ceratopsids from DPP (and looked dashing in his suit!).

Martin Kundrat showed some amazing pictures of dinosaur embryos and gave a great talk followed by Michael Caldwell's talk about mosasaur middle ears.

Nick Longrich's talk was about his semiaquatic marsupial from DPP.

Bill Straight (who had virtually no voice due to a cold) gave a humorous talk about the history of a dinosaur that can be gleaned from its bones.

Dale Russel gave a great speech about the "fitness" of fossil vertebrates compared to extant vertebrates.

Kirk Johnson stepped in for a missing Bob Bakker and gave a very interesting talk about the plant fossils he worked on in DPP.

Don Brinkman gave a talk about the microvertebrate sites in DPP.

Erik Snively gave a talk about the ecomorphology of DPP tyrannosaurids.

And Bucky Gates wrapped it all up with a talk about the biogeography of Campanian hadrosaurs.

All the talks were so great that I ran out of adjectives somewhere in the middle of the above list. There were also 24 posters (three of which were mine - Yipes!) and the general fun of seeing everyone. The field trip is going on even as I type this, but I had a stats class this morning I didn't want to miss, so I opted to head back into Calgary instead of attending. I bet they're having a ball - especially since the weather is gorgeous today.

As someone who can't make it to SVP this year, it was great to attend such wonderful talks and see all the beautiful slides of DPP.

And now - back to the grind of trying to figure out all that data I gathered this summer! ; )

Have fun!

Patty Ralrick
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, Canada