Wednesday, October 14, 2015

SVP 2015 Day 1

While again too poor to attend SVP, I thought I would provide my thoughts on the abstracts that interest me like I did last year.  The abstracts book can be download free at this link.  When adding abstracts to the Database, I noticed an issue that's been constant throughout the years- the titles are in UPPERCASE.  This makes copying them useless, which means everyone citing abstracts has to rewrite them.  This can only lead to more typos and serves no obvious purpose since the titles are already bolded to distinguish them from the rest of the text.  Does anyone else agree they should have normal capitalization?

This year there are no less than three abstracts marked as WITHDRAWN.  One is by Egberts and concerns wearing gloves when handling specimens to prevent skin oils damaging the fossils.  Another is by Spindler, about a supposed Carboniferous therapsid specimen.  The third by Parsons and Parsons involves aerial forelimb motion in Bambiraptor and Deinonychus.  I wonder why these three abstracts didn't make it.

Wilson reports that of three histologically sampled Pteranodon specimens, the largest and smallest are rather mature, while the medium-sized one is immature.  While she interprets this to mean "there may be a large amount of adult body size variation in Pteranodon" or possibly that "the smallest specimen sampled is from a large Nyctosaurus specimen", Peters' idea of taxonomic instead of ontogenetic variation in Pteranodon seems viable too.  Is this a case of Peters being right?

Andres (and posthumously Langston) signal the beginning to the end of the deplorable situation pterosaur workers have been in where Quetzalcoatlus' holotype has been inaccessible due to the TMM embargoing it for decades.  All it took was the eventual death of the person monographing it.  :|  Now if we can just get Pelecanimimus out of the same rut, so that those who have the thesis describing it will distribute it and allow others to photograph the material described over two decades ago...

Frontals of Bellusaurus sui referred specimen IVPP V17768.7 (left; after Mo, 2013), Europasaurus holgeri referred specimen DFMMh/FV 162 (center; after Marpmann et al., 2015), and Camarasaurus lentus referred specimen CM 11338 (right; after Gilmore, 1925) showing two characters reported by Moore et al. as shared between the former two genera- elongate frontal and deep orbital concavity in frontal. 

Moore et al. report on new Bellusaurus cranial elements, juvenile like the previously known material.  Interestingly, these support a macronarian position, and close relationship with Europasaurus.  No update on the oft-hypothesized synonymy with Klamelisaurus, as that genus only preserves teeth and postcrania.

Finally, we have the abstract supposedly authored by Chinzorig, Kobayashi, Tsogtbaatar, Mahito, Rinchen and Shigeru...?  Someone messed up somewhere, because of course the actual authorship using surnames should be Tsogtbaatar, Kobayashi, Tsogtbaatar, Watabe, Barsbold and Suzuki.  This one's going to be tedious to find/cite in the future.  The find itself is a diagnostic ornithomimid tarsus and pes from the Djadokhta Formation of Mongolia, unfortunately not comparable to the previously described cranial and vertebral material (IGM 100/987 and 100/1245) from that formation.

Join me tomorrow for Day 2 talks and posters...

References- Gilmore, 1925. A nearly complete articulated skeleton of Camarasaurus, a saurischian dinosaur from the Dinosaur National Monument. Memoirs of the Carnegie Museum. 10, 347-384.

Mo, 2013. Bellusaurus sui. Topics in Chinese Dinosaur Paleontology. Henan Science and Technology Press. 155 pp.

Marpmann, Carballido, Sander and Knötschke, 2015. Cranial anatomy of the Late Jurassic dwarf sauropod Europasaurus holgeri (Dinosauria, Camarasauromorpha): Ontogenetic changes and size dimorphism. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 13(3), 221-263.


  1. It's not the first time SVP abstract volume uses names as surnames... my abstract of a few years ago intriducing the rebbachisaurid Tataouines (before formal paper), the authorship was "Fanti, Contessi and Andrea", instead of "Fanti, Contessi and Cau". :-S

  2. While the capitalization of abstract titles isn't changed, I'd suggest using Notepad++ as a workaround. Right-clicking on selected text within the program shows a context menu with "UPPERCASE" and "lowercase" options. There's also the ability to do multiple selection on text which should expedite the conversion of titles.

  3. Hi Mickey - thanks for covering my poster on Bellusaurus. Just thought I'd add that the poster itself DID include Klamelisaurus, which falls out as a basal mamenchisaurid; I hadn't seen the material (which is, unfortunately, highly reconstructed) when I submitted my abstract earlier this year. I also suspect that the close relationship to Europasaurus is an artifact of the paedomorphic aspects of the skull of that taxon, and there was a talk on the neuroanatomy of Europasaurus that argued for brachiosaurid affinities.

    Apart from mention in The Princeton Field Guide, I haven't seen much in the way of published assertions of the synonymy of Bellusaurus and Klamelisaurus. Can you think of others?

  4. a supposed Carboniferous therapsid specimen

    Not just any! This is Tetraceratops we're talking about! (Following up on part of the subject of the same author's poster at last year's SVP meeting.)

    I wonder why these three abstracts didn't make it.

    I guess it's not the abstracts but the authors who didn't make it, and found out soon enough that they could still withdraw their accepted abstracts. At least Frederik Spindler didn't attend the meeting.

    All it took was the eventual death of the person monographing it. :|

    I'm not sure if the Texas Memorial Museum still exists either. Its entire vert. paleo. collection, including pieces that are clearly mounted for display, is now on a research campus of the U of T at Austin – in the same room as the vert. paleo. collection of the Bureau of Economic Geology; often, TMM and BEG specimens are in the same cabinet. I was there exactly two years ago and saw the mounted arm of Quetzalcoatlus (can't remember if that was a cast); Langston had recently died.

    the actual authorship using surnames should be Tsogtbaatar, Kobayashi, Tsogtbaatar,

    Well. While surnames have now been officially reintroduced in Mongolia, published scientists keep not using them. In "Rinchen Barsbold", "Barsbold" is his name, and "Rinchen" is his father's name, that's all there is to it. Confusion is inevitable in Western web forms.

    Me, I'm glad they managed to spell my surname for the very first time.

    1. The Carboniferous specimen mentioned in the abstract is an axial column. Tetraceratops is Permian.

      The TMM seems to still exist based on its website- . Maybe it just moved to the UT at Austin?