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Yesterday, I was in Oxford, at the Natural History Museum for the annual set of joy that is the Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy (SVPCA). Sadly I could only be there for the day, although the symposium is a week long. Conferences are always fun; there are interesting talks, meeting old friends again, making new acquaintances and large amounts of free tea and alcohol! (It’ doesn’t all have to be hard work.)

New and now stuff

There were 16 talks throughout the day yesterday, fortunately spread out with a lunch and tea breaks. I couldn’t get to the ichthyosaur talk (not just an ichthyosaur talk, but the ichthyosaur talk!) on Tuesday. (This was a change from last year where much of a day was spent on ichthyosaurs and other marine reptiles.) However, there were many other talks to satisfy me including:

  • Work on the Weymouth Bay Pliosaur, taxonomy and function.
  • Enigmatic archosaurs.
  • Pterosaur ontogeny and evolution.
  • Dinosaurs, of course.

As comparative anatomy suggests, this was a chance to show many pictures of fossil bones, which is what many of us go to see. There was of course the odd set of graphs, but fortunately they were coloured to take the edge off.

Many meetings

Meeting people is always fun (as long as you have something to say). It’s good to talk about their work, your work and everything in between. Yesterday, was a chance to grab a present (a Bulletin of the British Museum  (Natural History)) from Sam Bennett of Royal Holloway, London, and discuss with him, Dean Lomax of Doncaster Museum, and Paul Barrett, Natural History Museum, London, about potential ichthyosaur work that needs to be done there. I also spoke to Darren Naisch (not Nash), Southampton University, about Upper Jurassic ichthyosaurs and further projects.

Most exciting are some of the new people you get to meet. Yesterday, after passing a few emails between us, I finally had the chance to meet Aubrey Roberts. Aubrey is a Masters student at the University of Oslo, working on the Upper Jurassic ichthyosaurs from Spitsbergen. Having lived in Norway for a long time, she retains an excellent British accent, a reminder that she was born in Hampshire! Aubrey also showed me many exciting specimens of the weird-looking ichthyosaurs she’s working on. You can stalk Aubrey here, and see all the exciting fieldwork she’s been doing. The website is in Norwegian, but Google Translate will cut through that easily… probably.

It was also good to see many of my chums and chummettes (WordPress thinks that should be corrected to ‘courgettes’) from Portsmouth University. Shout-out to Luke, one of the Ancient Anglers; Mark, who drew most of the pterosaurs yesterday; Georgia, for wanting to meet Mike Benton; Irish Mike, for that moustache and any others whom I haven’t listed.

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