OLD BONES - SVP'S BLOG

It's that time of year when many high school seniors are in the midst of college applications. A college degree in a relevant field is virtually required for a formal career in paleontology (although many, many individuals without college degrees have contributed to the science in major ways, of course!). But, there are a wide array of choices out there. How is an aspiring paleontologist to choose? First, why does a degree matte... Read More
Posted: 12/27/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
On a recent trip to Chile, I read a book recommended by my colleague, René Bobe, that I think anyone interested in paleontology and evolution would really enjoy: The Monkey’s Voyage by Alan de Queiroz. This engaging book tackles the topic of biogeography: the study of where different types of animals and plants are found and how they came to be that way. Biogeography may not sound very exciting, but like most subjects, how it... Read More
Posted: 12/24/2015 12:00:00 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
Whenever I teach paleontology, or whenever I interact with members of the general public, one of the burning questions out there is how do we know what extinct animals looked like? Related to this question is often a large dose of skepticism – after all, isn’t most of what paleontologists do conjecture? No one has a time machine, and we often infer what should be there in terms of skin, hair, or feathers based on skeletal... Read More
Posted: 12/14/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
For many, what draws us to paleontology is the field work. You see it on TV and in the movies. The intrepid paleontologist, in his traditional khaki cargo pants and multi-pocketed vest, standing over the quarry, looking on while vast numbers of minions slowly carve away the rock to expose the virtually complete dinosaur. He wipes the sweat and dust from is grizzled face with a dirty handkerchief that he quickly ties back around his n... Read More
Posted: 12/3/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
     It’s safe to say that Canada has one of the best dinosaur fossil records in the world. But it wasn’t always that way. Whereas dinosaur paleontology took off in England in the early 19th century, and blossomed in the USA by the middle 19th century, the search for dinosaur fossils in Canada didn’t occur until the late 19th century. Names like Lawrence Lambe, Charles Sternberg, and William Parks are... Read More
Posted: 11/23/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
I learned a new word at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology a few weeks ago: teuthophagy, which means “squid-eating.” It was used in a presentation about sperm whales (family Physeteridae), which frequently prey on squid and thus, can be described as teuthophagous. You can also describe yourself as teuthophagous when you are consuming calamari, so you may want to file that term away for the next t... Read More
Posted: 11/3/2015 12:00:00 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
But where are all the fossils?  This, I found myself wondering on occasion as I listened to talks at the 75th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.  This year, perhaps because I haven’t been in a couple, one thing stood out above all others—the methods for studying vertebrate paleontology have exponentially advanced in complexity since I got my start back in the mid-1990s.  Gone are the ... Read More
Posted: 10/27/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
Last week, vertebrate paleontologists from all over the world met in Dallas, Texas for the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. I’ve had the pleasure of attending many since my first in 1994 (in Seattle). I’ve enjoyed watching the science change over the last 20 years, all for the better. These meetings are a ‘big deal’ in world of vertebrate paleontology. It’s one of the few ti... Read More
Posted: 10/23/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
Turtles are reptiles that are instantly recognizable. Their iconic shell has made them well-protected from predators and from paleontologists trying to understand their place on the reptile family tree. For as long as they have been studied, turtles have been recognized as reptiles, but exactly what sort of reptiles they were has been difficult to uncover. To understand why, we have to broaden our scope... Read More
Posted: 9/28/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
I just returned from the 5th Congreso Latinoamericano de Paleontología de Vertebrados (CLAPV), held in Colonia, Uruguay. Why did I travel more than 5,000 miles (nearly 9,000 km) to attend this conference when the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) will be held in Dallas in just a few weeks? And why do paleontologists attend such meetings at all?This cleverly designed poster was projected between talks at t... Read More
Posted: 9/26/2015 12:00:00 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
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