Symposia (invited participants only)
Symposia will be presented in the following topics:
- La Brea and Beyond: The Paleontology of Asphalt-Preserved Biotas
- Ontogeny Changes Everything: Paleobiological Implications of Dinosaur Growth
- Patterns from the Poles: Biodiversity and Paleoecology of High Latitude Fossil Vertebrates
- The Tempo of Vertebrate Evolution: Geochronologic Advances in Dating the Fossil Record
La Brea and Beyond: The Paleontology of Asphalt-Preserved Biotas
Co-Convenors: John M. Harris, Emily L. Lindsey, and H. Gregory McDonald
Asphalt seeps, or “tar pits,” are important repositories of paleontological information because of their extremely high preservation potential. The unparalleled accumulations of bone, plant material and insect remains preserved in asphaltic deposits allow a wide range of investigations into the biology, behavior and ecology of ancient species and ecosystems. Furthermore, specimens preserved in hydrocarbon-saturated sediments remain largely unaltered, which permits the preservation and analysis of ancient biomolecules. Finally, asphalt seeps can preserve biological material in geographic areas with otherwise poor preservation, such as the Neotropics, thus providing important insight into the paleofauna and paleoecology of these little-known areas.
Asphalt seeps also present particular challenges to paleontologists. Stratigraphic investigations are complicated, there can be significant time-averaging among tar-pit assemblages, and isotopic analyses, including radiocarbon dating, are hindered by contamination from hydrocarbons.
This symposium will bring together an international group of scientists working on different aspects of asphalt seep paleontology to discuss the paleobiological, geological and biogeographic implications of these valuable paleontological resources, which are currently threatened by increasing global energy demands. Presentations in this symposium will incorporate new studies from well-known Quaternary “tar pit” assemblages as well as research from geologically older and relatively unstudied asphaltic localities around the world. There could be no more appropriate meeting at which to hold this Symposium than SVP 2013, which marks the 100th Anniversary of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and of their first excavations at the most famous asphaltic paleontological site in the world, Rancho La Brea.
Ontogeny Changes Everything: Paleobiological Implications of Dinosaur Growth
Co-Convenors: John B. Scannella, Denver W. Fowler, Mark B. Goodwin, John R. Horner
Recent advances in our understanding of ontogenetic (developmental) change in dinosaurs have radically altered perceptions of the taxonomy, morphology, and behavior of these animals. The critical role of ontogeny in interpretations of dinosaur paleobiology only began to be recognized in the second half of the 20th century. Until recently, the nature and degree of developmental change was obscured and underappreciated for most taxa, due largely to limited sample sizes resulting in a lack of focus on these trends. In recent years, new and expanding data sets and advanced investigative techniques have enabled more comprehensive examinations of dinosaur growth. Detailed analyses of osteohistology and comparisons with extant taxa are expanding new avenues of investigation to explore the paleobiology of this group.
Far from simply informing upon the taxonomic status of individual specimens, the deciphering of ontogenetic trends significantly alters paleobiological interpretations of major topics in dinosaur macroevolution. Hypotheses regarding diversity dynamics are undergoing refinement by incorporating ontogenetic data into analyses. In light of new ontogenetic insights, it is apparent that major systematic revisions are likely necessary for all clades. Attempts to analyze dinosaur heterochrony (commonly defined as evolutionary change in developmental timing) and its role in evolution are fundamentally dependent upon understanding ontogenetic trends. Histological and computer tomographic investigations are increasing the resolution of patterns of dinosaur life history and skeletochronology. Documentation and studies into ontogenetic change continue to broaden our hypotheses surrounding dinosaur evolution, diversity, and extinction.
This symposium aims to explore the broad range of topics in dinosaur paleobiology for which ontogeny is a critical factor (including behavior, biomechanics, ecology, evolution, and extinction), and to highlight important new discoveries and their implications. The presentation of varied independent sources of data will allow for comparisons of ontogenetic trends in multiple clades. The symposium will appeal to researchers with an interest in developmental biology, histology, dinosaur life histories, community dynamics, systematics, and macroevolution.
Patterns from the Poles: Biodiversity and Paleoecology of High Latitude Fossile Vertebrates
Convenors: Matthew Vavrek and Nathan Smith
The past decade has seen a surge in both interest and research in the evolution of vertebrates at high latitudes, both within the Arctic and Antarctic. New discoveries are being made across a variety of time periods and taxonomic groups, from Jurassic dinosaurs to Neogene mammals. These novel discoveries provide an important window into the biological evolution of vertebrates in response to both extreme climates and climate change. Over the past 250 million years, polar regions have experienced fluctuations in temperatures greater than any other region on earth, alternating between periods of extreme warmth, with year-round ice free poles, to recent glaciations creating some of the coldest environments to have ever existed. Climate, in combination with the high seasonality of photoperiod, has created a number of unique environments, many of which have no modern analogue. Elucidating these patterns of diversity, ecology, and climate at high latitudes is critical to establishing a truly global context of vertebrate evolution and diversification through time.
This symposium is intended to highlight the growing body of research that is being done in Antarctica and the Arctic, with presentations from both established researchers as well as some of the new generation of polar paleontologists. Contributors to this symposium span a range of diverse research backgrounds, addressing vertebrate diversity, evolution, paleobiology, and paleoecology in both the Arctic and Antarctic; and spanning a time frame from the Triassic to modern. Topics discussed include: anatomy and relationships of polar taxa; latitudinal diversity gradients; high-latitude dispersal and biogeographic patterns; body-size, growth and metabolism at high latitudes; and high-latitude paleoenvironments and paleoclimatic reconstructions. This symposium is also designed to promote the integration of paleontological data and methods traditionally focused on deep-time perspectives on the evolution of polar faunas with research addressing modern changes in polar biotas and environments.
The Tempo of Vertebrate Evolution: Geochronologic Advances in Dating the Fossil Record
Convenors: Randall Irmis and Eric Roberts
One of the main contributions the field of paleontology makes to evolutionary studies is documentation of the tempo of evolution; as paleontologists, the geologic records of the history of life on Earth that we study provide one of the only ways to constrain this fundamental aspect of biological evolution. To document anything more than relative age (e.g., superposition) requires geochronology to place absolute age constraints on the fossil record. Thus, geochronology is essential to interpreting the fossil record.
Geochronology is a field that has advanced extremely rapidly over the past 20 years, to the point where we can now achieve precision at the ±10 ka level for geologic records going back several hundred million years. Major methodological and analytical improvements have affected a variety of geochronological techniques, including but not limited to U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar radioisotopic dating, magnetostratigraphy, and cyclostratigraphy, with application to samples previously considered undatable (detrital grains, redeposited volcanics, carbonates, exotic minerals, etc). These new advances in methodology, application, and dating unconventional deposits have major potential for the broader paleontological community through the integration of these new geochronological techniques with the vertebrate paleontological record.
Our symposium brings together a leading international group of geochronologists and vertebrate paleontologists from the U.S., Canada, Africa, and Australia to present new methodological approaches and applications to the study of the tempo of vertebrate evolution. We anticipate this symposium will appeal to nearly all attendees of the meeting; i.e., anyone who is interested in placing their study organisms in a chronologic framework. As such, this symposium cuts across discipline, clade, and geologic time period. Our speakers address a wide range of case studies across geologic time using a variety of geochronologic methods.
SVP Program Committee
If you have questions regarding the program, your presentation or abstract, check the SVP website or contact the SVP Program Co-Chairs:
Jonathan Bloch, Co-Chair
Florida Museum of Natural History
Gainesville, FL, USA
Anjali Goswami, Co-Chair
University College London
Jason Anderson Paul Barrett
University of Calgary, Canada The Natural History Museum, United
Brian Beatty Richard Butler
New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, USA University of Munich, Germany
Chris Brochu Kerin Claeson
University of Iowa, USA Ohio University, USA
Ted Daeschler David Evans
Ohio University, USA Roya Ontario Museum, Canada
Academy of Natural Sciences email@example.com
David Fox Nadia Fröbisch
University of Minnesota, USA Museum Für Naturkunde Leibiniz-Institut
firstname.lastname@example.org Für Evolutions Un Biodiversitätsforschu,
Christian Kammerer Matthew Lamanna
Museum Für Naturkunde, Germany Carnegie Museum of Natural History,
Josh Miller Johannes Mueller
Florda Museum of Natural Histroy, USA Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin,
email@example.com Museum Fuer Naturkunde, Germany
William Sanders Bruce Shockey
University of Michigan, USA American Museum of Natural History,
Mary Silcox Michelle Stocker
University of Toronto Scarborough, Canada The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Rebecca Terry Paul Upchurch
UC Santa Cruz, USA University College London, United
University of Florida, USA
For further information please contact the SVP Meeting Management office at firstname.lastname@example.org.