SVP, our first birthday, the ghost of blogging yet to come

October 24, 2008

Just got back from SVP, the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. SVP is always a blast; beyond the inherent coolness of four solid days of intense paleo-everything, I get a chance to catch up with my “SVP friends”–the pool of friends, some of them close, that I only see for a few days each year.

This year there was an extra bonus, which was making friends with a lot of paleobloggers that I’d previously only known as e-quaintances. There was even a paleoblogger lunch, which drew a big enough crowd that people at opposite ends of the table couldn’t effectively converse. That’s okay, though. I have a ‘critical mass’ theory about shared meals and parties, which is that they are usually lame unless there are enough people to sustain more than one conversation at the same time. By that standard, the paleoblogger lunch was a flying success. Unfortunately there weren’t any sauropods at the lunch, so it’s not really germane to our purpose here.

However, I did engineer a photo with a subset of paleobloggers that would be fair game, and you can see it above. This was at the welcome reception at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. From left to right we’ve got Haplocanthosaurus (sauropod vertebra picture of the week: check), a disembodied floating T. rex head (it’s an oracle), a mosasaur, Megaloceros, Mammuthus (one of the least stinky of the stinkin’ mammals), and Allosaurus. Oh, and down in front are Julia Heathcote (Ethical Palaeontologist), moi, Amanda Northrop (Self-Designed Student), and Neil Kelley (microecos). Neil is the only real paleontologist of the bunch; you can tell because he’s holding a beer.


Mike drew the straw for our first birthday post, but I didn’t want to let it pass unremarked. This blog started as a joke on e-mail. “We ought to make a blog of nothing but sauropod vertebra pictures.” “Like APOD?” “Yeah, but weekly so we don’t drive ourselves crazy.” Next thing I knew, Mike had set up the blog and registered Darren and me as contributors. Then I posted a couple of times and BAM! we’re a year into it.

At first I thought we’d be struggling to get a year’s worth of material. I even made up a list of stuff I wanted to blog about, just in case I ever ran out of inspirado. I won’t tell you what’s on the list, but I will tell you that there are 27 things on the list and so far I’ve only gotten to six of them. So the outlook is good.

I have no idea how long we’ll be doing this. It never occurred to me after about the first month. If there is a Life Lesson (TM) in paleontology, it’s that nothing lasts forever. No sense getting an ulcer about it. Just enjoy what you have, and have a little fun.

We’ll do the same.

14 Responses to “SVP, our first birthday, the ghost of blogging yet to come”

  1. ScottE Says:

    It was a distinct pleasure meeting yourself and the others during my first SVP! (I’m gonna try and get out to Bristol for next years’!)

  2. Neil Says:

    And just out of view, the CMNH dinosaur diversity tree with the sauropod branch labeled: “Vegetarian Swamp Dwellers.” This may turn out to be a critical voting block in Florida.

  3. Andreas Johansson Says:

    If there is a Life Lesson (TM) in paleontology, it’s that nothing lasts forever.

    If the blog lasts even a millionth as long as the youngest sauropod vertebra has, I say you’ll have done a pretty good job. :D

  4. Matt Wedel Says:

    If the blog lasts even a millionth as long as the youngest sauropod vertebra has, I say you’ll have done a pretty good job.

    To meet that goal we’ll have to keep doing this for another 64 years, by the end of which time I’ll be 97 and Mike will be–oh, geez, I don’t think I can even count that high.

    Still, I’m pretty sure that we’ll give out before the sauropod vertebrae do.

  5. Andreas Johansson Says:

    I’m expecting that blogging is heritable. ;)

  6. Matt Wedel Says:

    Possibly. The real question is whether it’s adaptive.

  7. Mike from Ottawa Says:

    That depends on how often you find yourself saying ‘Not tonight, honey. I’m blogging.’

  8. Chris from NZ Says:

    Hi guys

    Just want to let you know that as a former geologist who has moved into thoer fields, it’s great to see your page, and be amazed and astounded by the things you show us.

    Thanks a lot, and keep up the good work!

  9. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thanks, Chris-from-NZ — it’s a great encouragement to read this sort of thing; we really appreciate it.

  10. Mike from Ottawa Says:

    Only tangentially (“stinkin’ mammals”) in it’s origins is this questions apropos this post, but what, if anything, is known about discs between the vertebrae of sauropods?

  11. Julia Says:

    Why do I look retarded in practically every photo of me from SVP? I was sober in those photos too, damnit! Is that the problem? Do women ACTUALLY get more attractive after they’ve had a couple of beers???

    On second thoughts, don’t answer that, boys…

  12. Nathan Myers Says:

    Nobody likes their own picture. Me, I don’t understand how paleontologists can get any work done when their co-workers (of preferred fittings, whichever) are all so much better-looking, and have such better dance moves, than the average human.

  13. Darren Naish Says:

    It’s true, we all have to make a super-human effort.

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