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Future/Past Meetings SVP 70th Annual Meeting Summary

October 10-13, 2010
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA

A record 1,223 attended the SVP 70th Anniversary Meeting in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA), which broke the previous record of 1,166 attendees in Austin in 2007. Rave reviews echoed during and after the meeting.

The host institution was the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH), and the exceptional Host Committee was led by Co-Chairs Zhe-Xi Luo and Chris Beard. They exceeded expectations at every turn — from providing an outstanding guest speaker in C. Owen Lovejoy, to an exceptional Welcome Reception at the CMNH with unlimited access to the museum and free-range grazing in the Dinosaurs in Their Time Exhibit. Details of the meeting schedule can be found in the meeting circular.

There were 761 abstracts submitted, which is the second highest number of submissions after the Bristol meetings of 2009. This number produced 312 oral presentations and 413 posters, and the four symposia covered:

  • Advances in Paleoecology: Geochemistry, Microwear and Beyond
  • Making Connections: The Evolution and Function of Joints in Vertebrates
  • Evolution of the Modern African Fauna
  • Physical Drivers, and Marine Tetrapod Evolution

All 725 accepted abstracts can be viewed in the downloadable SVP 2010 Program and Abstracts Book. The printed edition of the Book can also be ordered through A special thanks to new Program Co-Chairs Jon Bloch and Anjali Goswami (and their committee) for all of their hard work in putting the program together.

A special thank you to SVP's meeting sponsors and exhibitors whose contributions and efforts enhanced the meeting experience for all attendees in a big way.

A new Education & Outreach Poster Session, organized by Larisa DeSantis of the Education & Outreach Committee, featured nineteen remarkable posters presenting novel approaches to informal educational outreach. View all nineteen of the Education & Outreach Abstracts.

Field trips met the tastes of every appetite, and included:

  • Late Devonian Vertebrates in North Central Pennsylvania,
  • Classic Quaternary Cave Sites in Maryland and Pennsylvania,
  • A tour of the studios and workshops of Phil Fraley Productions, and
  • A visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Waters and Kentucky Knob homes (our thanks to Ilona Weyers and family for making the Wright tour possible).

Well-attended workshops in Effective Poster Design and Paleontological Illustration for the JVP provided exceptionally useful information for the novice and expert alike.

Not to be outdone was the Children's Workshop on Dinosaurs and Animation, which was led by Stuart Sumida. Experts from around the globe brought a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a group of local 4-6th grade children to learn both animation and evolution through the lenses of vertebrate paleontology.

The heart of SVP and related business was covered at the Annual Business Meeting (ABM) and Open Executive Business Meeting (OEBM). The ABM opened with Blaire Van Valkenburgh as SVP President and closed with myself rotating in to take the helm for the next two years. Hearty thanks are extended to Blaire for all of her focused efforts on behalf of SVP.

We also saw veteran SVP volunteers Catherine Badgley (outgoing Past President) and Ana Baez (outgoing Member at Large) rotate off the Executive Committee to make way for Catherine Forster (incoming Vice President) and Lars Werdelin (incoming Member at Large). Minutes from the Annual Business Meeting can be found in the Members Only Area of the SVP Web site. The Open Executive Business Meeting featured a comprehensive presentation about DETELON (Deep Time Earth-Life Observatory Network) by Catherine Badgley. This initiative is an effort to establish new funding at the National Science Foundation around a concept that incorporates our profession.

Funds were raised to benefit the SVP Education & Research Fund (Fund) in creative ways: Lou Taylor and the SVP Development Committee secured monies to rename the Predoctoral Grant after Mary Dawson. Their efforts, along with Mary's goodwill, charm and reputation, proved to be a winning combination, and the Predoctoral Grant will henceforth be called the Mary Dawson Predoctoral Grant.

Brent Breithaupt and the new Auction Committee Co-chair Scott Williams led the onslaught of a Star Trek-themed auction that brought in $18,303 USD for the SVP Education & Research Fund. Adding to the auction milieu was artist Angela Love, who provided spot-on character drawings for donations to the fund, and sketches of SVP luminaries that were auctioned off later that evening to an awaiting crowd.

The Student and Postdoctoral Liaison Committee raised a record $2,700 USD at the Student Reprint & Roundtable Exchange while at the same time gaining valuable information from experts in SVP on a dozen topics as diverse as "how to write a grant" and "research opportunities in vertebrate paleontology."

Now we're turning our sights on Las Vegas (November 2-5, 2011). Mark your calendars and make your plans now!

Philip Currie, SVP President