Ten years of sauropod vertebrae!

October 1, 2017

Amazingly (to me, anyway), SV-POW! is ten years old today. It was on 1st October 2007 that we published Hello world!, our first post, featuring a picture of what may still be our favourite single sauropod vertebra: the ?8th cervical of the Giraffatitan brancai paralectotype MB.R.2181. Of course, back then, we thought it was the type (it’s not), it was thought to belong to Brachiosaurus brancai (mea culpa), and the specimen number was HMN SII. A lot has changed in ten years, but the vertebra is still heart-breakingly beautiful.

Some other things have changed in those ten years, of course. Three of us started the blog, but one (Darren) has become a sleeping partner due to the enormous success of his other blog, Tetrapod Zoology. We began intending to be a picture blog, but we’ve ended up as a 50-50 blend of sauropod palaeontology and open-access advocacy. Along the way, I (Mike) got my Ph.D, and Matt moved from UC Merced to Western University of Health Sciences, where both he and his wife Vicki now have tenure. Darren meanwhile has carved out a unique niche for himself as a writer and consultant, and has his own cconference.

We never thought this blog would run for so long — I seem to remember the original plan was to make 52 weekly posts, then call it a day after one year. In fact, over the last ten years, we’ve posted 1160 articles, for an average of one every 3.15 days: more than twice as often as the weekly schedule that the blog title suggests. But not all those posts have included sauropod vertebrae — so, guessing that about half of them have, we’re more or less on target.

In the mean time, you have written 16820 comments, for a pretty healthy average of 14.5 per post. One of the things I’m proudest about regarding this blog is that we’ve only once had to shut a thread down because it became unproductive; and I think on only two other occasions have we had to issue a public warning. We have a fantastic community of commenters here, and my deeply felt gratitude goes out to you all.

Our most-read post at the time of writing is Every attempt to manage academia makes it worse (with 214,438 views), followed by Elsevier is taking down papers from Academia.edu (62,695), SV-POW! showdown: sauropods vs whales (35,944) and How big was Amphicoelias fragillimus? I mean, really? (35,531). These lead a list of 35 posts that have each garnered more than 10,000 views, contributing to an overall total of 3,573,821 views (which gives us an average of 3,080 views per post). We are alternately delighted, baffled and impressed that the world has shown such interest.

We have one or two things planned for this week of the 10th anniversary, but for this post I just want to leave it like this: THANK YOU ALL for reading, commenting and engaging with this blog. Thank you, palaeontologists for putting up with the open-access posts, and thank you scholarly communication specialists for putting up with the sauropods. We hope it’s been interesting, entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking; and we hope we can continue in the same vein. (We certainly have no plans to stop any time soon.)

We love you guys.

9 Responses to “Ten years of sauropod vertebrae!”

  1. Congratulations on a fabulous sauropod-filled ten years! Here’s to another ten!

  2. […] can’t even count how many sauropod vertebra pictures we’ve posted here across the last ten years, but I am confident that the total comes to at least a lot. Here’s a picture from each year […]

  3. Congrats. There is a little request, I would like to know more about 50m (?) Barosaurus.

  4. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thanks! Everything we know about 50m Barosaurus is in the slides of our 2016 SVPCA talk. But to summarise brutally: the “Supersaurus” cervical BYU 9024 is a very good match for the 9th cervical of the well-known nearly-complete specimen AMNH 6341, but is literally twice as long. So the naive interpretation is that the whole animal was twice as long as (and eight times as heavy as) the AMNH individual. Since that one is about 25m and perhaps 12.5 tonnes, we’re looking at an animal 50m long and massing 100 tonnes.

  5. Mark Robinson Says:

    Congratulations Mike and Matt. Ten years is an excellent run. Think I’ve been reading SV-POW since sometime in 2009. What kept me returning was that I found it to be both informative and entertaining (yes, even the OA stuff).

    I rarely comment these days but I still visit regularly so I am pleased that you both still have the enthusiasm to continue with the blog.

    It would, perhaps, be a little trite to wish you another ten years so…
    “Here’s to eleven more years!”

  6. Chase Says:


  7. Congratulations Mike.

    I am envious of quality, consistency and impact of your blogging. Keep up the good work! Policymakers are watching… https://youtu.be/ck1lH8_ueHg?t=1m55s

  8. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thanks, Ross! :-)

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