SV-POW! on the road – Sauropocalypse 2016

April 30, 2016

Utah Field House Diplodocus 1

Mounted Diplodocus at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum in Vernal.

I love Utah. I love how much of the state is given over to exposed Mesozoic rocks. I love driving through Utah, which has a strong baseline of beautiful scenery that is frequently punctuated by the absolutely mind-blowing (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Monument Valley…). I love doing fieldwork there, and I love the museums, of which there are many. It is not going too far to say that much of what I learned firsthand about sauropod morphology, I learned in Utah (the Carnegie Museum runs a close second on the dragging-Matt-out-of-ignorance scale).

DNM baby Camarasaurus

Cast of the juvenile Camarasaurus CM 11338 at Dinosaur National Monument.

There is no easy way to say this so I’m just going to get it over with: Mike has never been to Utah.

I know, right?

But we’re going to fix that. Mike’s flying into Salt Lake City this Wednesday, May 4, and I’m driving up from SoCal to meet him. After that we’re going to spend the next 10 days driving around Utah and western Colorado hitting museums and dinosaur sites. We’re calling it the Sauropocalypse.

UMNH Barosaurus mount

Mounted Barosaurus at the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Why am I telling you this, other than to inspire crippling jealousy?

First, Mike and I are giving a pair of public talks next Friday evening, May 6, at the USU-Eastern Prehistoric Museum in Price. The talks start at 7:00 and will probably run until 8:00 or shortly after, and there will be a reception with snacks afterward. Mike’s talk will be, “Why giraffes have such short necks”, and my own will be, “Why elephants are so small”.

Second, occasionally people leave comments to the effect of, “Hey, if you’re ever passing through X, give me a shout.” I haven’t kept track of all of those, so this is me doing the same thing in reverse. Here’s our itinerary as of right now:

May 4, Weds: MPT flies in. MJW drives up from Cali. Stay in SLC/Provo area.
May 5, Thurs: recon BYU collections in Provo. Stay in SLC/Provo area.
May 6, Fri: drive to Price, visit USU-Eastern Prehistoric Museum, give evening talks. Stay in Price.
May 7, Sat: drive to Vernal, visit DNM. Stay in Vernal.
May 8, Sun: visit Utah Field House, revisit DNM if needed, drive to Fruita.
May 9, Mon: visit Rabbit Valley camarasaur in AM, visit Dinosaur Journey museum in PM. Go on to Moab.
May 10, Tues: drive back to Provo, visit BYU collections.
May 11, Weds: BYU collections.
May 12, Thurs: drive to SLC to visit UMNH collections, stay for Utah Friends of Paleontology meeting that evening.
May 13, Fri: BYU collections.
May 14, Sat: visit North American Museum of Ancient Life. MPT flies home. MJW starts drive home.

We’re planning lots of time at BYU because we’ll need it, the quantity and quality of sauropod material they have there is ridiculous. As for the rest, some of those details may change on the fly but that’s the basic plan. Maybe we’ll see you out there.

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7 Responses to “SV-POW! on the road – Sauropocalypse 2016”

  1. Mike Taylor Says:

    Oh, man, this is so exciting!


  2. Guys!What a great road-trip you have planned! Need I say it … Enjoy! (Big-time … being sauropods ‘n’ all … )
    Any chance your talks will be videoed and shared? :D

  3. Mike Taylor Says:

    I hope that the museum will make a proper video recording. But in case they don’t, Matt and I have a backup plan to do a low-rent recording by attaching one of our phones to a tripod. It won’t be great, but it should be better than nothing.


  4. Visited the US for the first time last year and I must say Utah was my highlight. Excellent natural history museum at Salt Lake, and very friendly people.


  5. […] and I leave for the Sauropocalypse tomorrow. I’m hoping to post at least a few pretty pictures from the road, as I did for the […]

  6. Andrew Stuck Says:

    If St. George, Utah, happens to be on your way home, Matt, you should visit the Dinosaur Discovery Site. They’ve just renovated their museum, which is built over a well-preserved trackway. Not much in the way of sauropodomorphs I’m afraid, but it does feature the famed Dilophosaurus “butt-print”!

  7. Mike Taylor Says:

    Sadly, St. George was one stop too many for us to fit onto our extremely packed programme. Hopefully we’ll find a time at some point to write about everywhere we’ve been — but since it’s nearly 2am and we’ve only just got into our motel room, it will not be this day.


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