Just write the Archbishop description already!

September 3, 2015

Here I am at SVPCA in 2015. I am haunted by the fact that ten years ago at SVPCA 2005, I gave a talk about the NHM’s Tendaguru brachiosaurid, NHMUK R5937. And the description is still not done and submitted a full decade later. Even though it’s objectively one of the most beautiful specimens in the world:


So here is my pledge to the world:

By this time next year (i.e. the start of SVPCA 2016 in Liverpool), I will have written and submitted this description. If I fail, I give you all permission — no, I beg you — to mock me mercilessly. Leave mocking comments on this blog, yes; but more than that, those of you at SVPCA are invited to spend the week pointing contemptuously at me and saying “Ha!”

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Update (6 September): see also.

31 Responses to “Just write the Archbishop description already!”

  1. Kenneth Carpenter Says:

    So, I don’t want to state the obvious about your spending so much energy writing on the SVPOW at the expense of writing papers – but I TOLD YOU SO!

  2. Chase Says:

    Jeez man, what took you so long! :D By the way, since I couldn’t attend this year (I was cataloguing and packing fossils from some summer trips for transport back to the museum), I was only able to read everyone’s abstracts. Yours on apatosaurine neck combat was very interesting!

  3. ijreid Says:

    Get it done man! :D I’ve gotten a paper submitted to the peerj preprints already and I’ve only gotten serious about dinosaurs in about a year or two.

  4. codyvburkett Says:

    If you get it done this year, I will name the first wine I ever make when I get started, “The Archbishop.” And save a case for you. And have a brachiosaur dressed as an Archbishop on the label.

    (This may be a few years before I get to that point, though.)

  5. LeeB Says:

    Setting a deadline.
    A fairly drastic way of ensuring you get the paper published but also hopefully a rather efficacious one.

    I look forward to reading the paper; hopefully you have a good name in mind for the wee beastie.


  6. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thanks to all for the encouraging comments (and indeed the discouraging ones!)

    Ken, having talked about the Archbishop at SVPCA in 2005, I really should have got that work completed way before SV-POW! even started more than two years later in 2007. In fact what’s got in the way of my doing this work is a stream of other palaeo projects, including for example the five side-projects that ended up constituting my dissertation. The recurring problem is that I keep seeing “little projects” that I think, “Oh, that just needs a two-pager, we should be able to get that done in a week”; and they all turn out to be fairly substantial projects in the end.

    Chase, we’re pretty happy with the thoughts on apatosaurine necks. Although I was the lead author of the talk, Matt’s lead on the paper and has done most of the work to get the manuscript to its present state. We hope to have a PeerJ Preprint up, as part of the SVPCA 2015 collection, within a small number of weeks.

    codyvburkett: your offer is noted and enthusiastically accepted!

    LeeB: yes, I’m happy with my naming plans. What I have at the moment is arguably a slice less awesome than Xenoposeidon or Brontomerus, but still among my favourite dinosaur names.

  7. Mike Taylor Says:

    Not this time, Heinrich!

  8. […] was to be a description of the Archbishop, something that I have still not got done a decade later, but definitely will this year. […]

  9. Nima Says:

    Just whenever you have the paper ready, let me know Mike, I am ready to furnish the skeletal for it!

  10. Mike Taylor Says:

    It’s a fair cop :-(

  11. bricksmashtv Says:

    so any actual idea of when this’ll be done (since at least Mk II of the Barosaurus preprint is done)?

  12. Mike Taylor Says:

    I don’t know. I can’t get up any enthusuiasm for palaeo publishing work at the moment, since my last two papers cam back with very long, very negative reviews that I just can’t bring myself to invest work into addressing. (That Barosaurus paper is one of them.)

  13. bricksmashtv Says:

    Oh, well sorry about that. Hopefully you can get them turned around and fixed up at some point in the near future.

  14. Mike Taylor Says:

    Maybe. To be honest, at the moment I am thinking it might be a better use of my time just to shug and walk away from them, leave them as preprints.

  15. Someone Says:

    I will be waiting for you to publish it. And you can give it a name like Michaelosaurus taylori. Keep your promise.

    Your paper about BYU 9024 got bad comments?

  16. Mike Taylor Says:

    Someone, yes, it did. I don’t know whether the day will someday come to tell the story in public, but for now I think it is safer just to whine about it in pubs to my friends.

    The unwritten rule in zoological nomenclature is that you don’t name a taxon after yourself — so taylori is the one species name I will never use.

  17. Someone Says:

    Why not? There are so many animals with a specific name based on some related person’s name. Just do it with this one while you have the chance. The ones who found it didn’t describe it, they loose. Finders, keepers. That could be YOUR big sauropod.

    I was also kinda questioning the paper about BYU 9024 having been a Barosaurus. It was definitely a gigantic sauropod, but besides from that I am not so sure it was a Barosaurus. I mean it would at least be a different species.

  18. Mike Taylor Says:

    None, not how it works. Naming a taxon after yourself would be a shortcut to estrangement from the community. Plus, what you really want is the true honour, a decade or two on, of having done enough good-quality work that someone else names a dinosaur after you.

    As for whether BYU 9024 is a Barosaurus: you’ll just have to wait for the paper (unless you can make sense of the slides from the SVPCA talk.)

  19. Someone Says:

    I read some pretty quick and simple paper you had made with pictures and such stuff. I found it to be kinda too simplistic to actually confirm this assertion that BYU 9024 is a Barosaurus.

    One request. Is there anything you could do to provide to the internet’s paleontological community some information about Mamenchisaurus Sinocanadorum? Like a skeletal or something.

  20. Mike Taylor Says:

    What quick-and-simple paper is that? I don’t remember writing one.

    I know nothing more about M. sinocanadorum than what has been published — I’ve never seen the fossils and am not particularly likely to. Also, I don’t really do skeletals.

  21. Mike Taylor Says:

    That’s not a paper, that’s the slide-deck for the talk I gave at the 2016 SVPCA conference in Liverpool. It’s better than nothing, but I don’t know how much sense you’ll be able to make of the slides in the absence of the narration.

  22. Someone Says:

    Maybe it doesn’t appear. It is called “How big did Barosaurus get?”.

  23. Someone Says:

    I did make some.

  24. LeeB Says:

    It would be nice to see the Archbishop published but you get it done when you are ready; not when any one else tells you too.

    The same with any other papers you are publishing.

    And don’t let the bastards get you down; your work is good.


  25. […] first one I created myself: an Archbishop mug, showing the posterior dorsal vertebra pair D?8-9 — foolishly, in […]

  26. […] Challenge 2010, and that as early as 2011 I was in despair about ever finishing it, and that I promised to do it by SVPCA 2016 but […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: