It is no secret that the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology will be holding its annual meting in LA this year. I shook down the coffers at ol' antediluvian salad headquarters as the meeting costs a grip if you are not a member/student/or press- remember bloggers are not considered "press". Anyways I exhausted the annual budget for da' salad so I guess no xmas party. Shucks.
What really sold me was getting to look at the abstracts and speeches scheduled for the conference. Really cool stuff. For the sake of brevity I jotted down my initial impression of what topics appear to hold sway over this year's tallks/posters.
Ceratopsids. Heterochrony. Artiodactyls. Mosasaur, bat, mosasaur, primate- bat, bat.
Tar pits. Big Hairy mammals. Big sauropod is a big sauropod.
Dire wolf, temnospondyl, weird Permian stuff, some fish, some turtles.
Diverse mammals are diverse. Ungulate, ungulate.
Some bird stuff, some abelisaurs. Crocodiles and notosuchia. Squamates.
Loads of pinnipeds. Rodents, rodents, rodents. Therapsid.
and Dinosaurs at the poles.
Ok, so there is my initial impression on what groups seem to be dominating. On the dino front a whole lot on ceratopsids, especially the whole Triceratops/Torosaurus showdown. Some promising stuff on therizinosaurs, ornithomimisaurs, ankylosaurs and of course sauropods. Good amount of theropod stuff but not a whole lot on tyrannosaurids or velociraptors. Maybe overkill finally for those two groups.
But what really struck me was the amount of and diversity of talks on mammals. Now, of course the close proximity to the La Brea tar pits plays a part in this. And there are a lot of mammal specialists at the LA natural history museum. But the synapids really seem to come out on top in terms volume and representation. No official tally but I would not be surprised if mammal/synapsid talks outnumber archosaur talks- including birds and crocs. Marine mammals completely obliterate marine reptiles in terms of presence. Pterosaur talks are not particularly loaded.
Not complaining though, there is something for everybody and its great to step out of your comfort zone and learn about new critters. Maybe I will finally start to grasp mammal evolution. But I do wonder how this years talks stand up against previous years in terms of what groups dominated.