Tuesday, September 3, 2013

SVPCA 2013 - a pterosaur spectacular

Well SVPCA (Symposium for Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy) for 2013 has just ended in Edinburgh. As per usual, there was a good set of pterosaur-related talks and the P.net crew was heavily involved. Mark spoke about azhdarchid neck evolution, I had a talk (which included Mike Habib as an author) on a new Rhamphorhynchus specimen with new evidence on their diets and Darren spoke on sexual selection in the fossil record which naturally included pterosaurs (and which included me as an author). Not bad at all really, but then there was the fact that for the first time since way back in Munich 2007, nearly the entire P.net crew was together!

As can be seen here we have (L-R), Luis Rey, Mark Witton, Darren Naish, Lorna Steel, me, Mike Habib (over from LA), Ross Elgin and John Conway. We were only short of Dino Frey and Helmut Tischlinger, and as neither rarely leaves the confines of southern Germany. I don't think we've ever had this many people together - even Dino didn't make the Munich conference that ultimately spawned the website, and certainly when the idea formed about the site we weren't all together so this might be the biggest set of us ever. Ah fun times (as rather demonstrated by the second photo below).

Anyway, while on the subject of groups of people talking pterosaurs in the UK, the announcement was formally made that the next 'Flugsaurier' meeting will be in 2015 and hosted at Portsmouth. Dave Martill will be leading the charge, with myself, mark, Dave Unwin and others helping. The plan is to link this (in terms of time) to SVPCA that year (which does not yet have a venue) so that Flug will go immediately before or after and so that hopefully a few people who have come to the UK for the pterosaurs may stay for the other meeting (or vice versa) and both conferences may benefit. SVPCA is usually in early September and so while we do not yet have a definitive date for Flugsaurier, expect it to be the end of summer 2015 with a date between the last week of August and third week of September. Fieldtrips are planned to both the Jurassic Coast and classic localities for things like Dimorphodon as well as to the Isle of Wight for Istiodactylus. Keep your diaries free!