OLD BONES - SVP'S BLOG

      An interesting paper came across my desk this past week, authored by Charles Marshall and published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Marshall notes that the foundational doctrines of most scientific disciplines can be expressed as simple laws, and that although the science of palaeobiology has provided key insights into matters of evolutionary ecology and biology, these have yet to be condensed into m... Read More
Posted: 6/5/2017 10:49:48 AM by mallonjordanadmin | with 0 comments
Going to the field and uncovering fossils is often what attracts someone to vertebrate paleontology. I know it was a contributing factor for me! There isn’t anything quite like picking up the remains of an ancient animal and immediately recognizing that it represents something new to science. But there is a reason finding fossils is known as fieldwork rather than fieldplay; it requires a lot effort - particularly in the case of... Read More
Posted: 5/23/2017 7:26:10 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
Tomorrow (Saturday, April 22) marks a long-awaited event for many researchers world-wide: a March for Science. Based on my social media feeds, numerous paleontologists will also be participating in multiple locations. All have their own reasons--frustration with politicians, anger at neglect and misuse of science, pride in their profession, a need to make scientists visible and humanized, or perhaps a combination of all of these and ... Read More
Posted: 4/21/2017 10:11:38 AM by andyfarkeadmin | with 0 comments
I’ve been going to SVP annual meetings for nearly 20 years. They have certainly gotten bigger during that interval as well as better in virtually all respects. There is always room for improvement, but overall, it is a fun and well-run meeting. That being said, our annual meeting is fundamentally the same one I have been attending for nearly two decades. That strikes me as remarkable when I think about the changes that have ta... Read More
Posted: 4/6/2017 9:42:08 PM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
Dogma is defined by Merriam-Webster as “something held as an established opinion; especially:  a definite authoritative tenet.” Science prides itself on being removed from dogma through use of critical thinking and continuous questioning. As scientists, paleontologists work hard to ensure that dogmatic thinking is avoided. Everything is up for question. Nothing is sacred.Or is it? This week, a paper was published th... Read More
Posted: 3/25/2017 4:56:57 PM by pennilynhigginsadmin | with 0 comments
Historical photos are fascinating as windows into the lives of our paleontological predecessors. I enjoy seeing the old clothing styles and haircuts, and reflecting on how some things have changed (or haven't changed) over the years. For today's post, I found a great photo from the Smithsonian's archives, depicting fossil preparator Norman Ross assembling the mounted skeleton of a little horned dinosaur. The photo is dat... Read More
Posted: 3/9/2017 3:48:17 PM by andyfarkeadmin | with 0 comments
On a recent trip to visit the paleobiology group at the University of Washington, I had the opportunity to visit with a variety of faculty and students. I always enjoy getting to meet new people and learn about what they are working on, but from a student’s perspective, I know that meeting with a visiting professor can be intimidating. Here are my Top 10 suggestions of why you should consider signing up for one of those half-ho... Read More
Posted: 2/23/2017 8:03:57 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
Social media has become an important thing for science communication. In paleontology, the activity of "Live Tweeting" professional meetings has become an important aspect of what we do as scientists. This is all part of what we feel is an important opportunity to take our science - our life's work - and make it available to anyone who might be interested. But we still have challenges. It has been suggested, and I have... Read More
Posted: 2/9/2017 6:11:09 PM by pennilynhigginsadmin | with 0 comments
Everyone loves a good depiction of prehistoric feasting--whether that's a dire wolf chowing down on a prehistoric bison, or a Stegosaurus grazing on some ferns. So, how do we know what prehistoric animals ate?Allosaurus dines on a dinosaur carcass--this reconstruction by Charles Knight was based on sauropod bones that showed tooth marks from feeding! Many different lines of evidence helps paleontologist reconstruct prehistoric d... Read More
Posted: 2/7/2017 4:52:49 PM by andyfarkeadmin | with 0 comments
Nature recently published the first issue of yet another journal bearing the Nature name, Nature Ecology & Evolution. This brings to 28 the number of journals bearing the Nature brand, not counting the 18 Nature Reviews journals nor the 25 Nature Research Journals. I am going to add Nature Ecology & Evolution to the list of journals I peruse periodically, right next to Nature Geoscience, another relatively young journal (laun... Read More
Posted: 1/12/2017 9:09:51 PM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
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