Welcome to Superoceras, a blog about science and natural history, slightly biased towards paleontology and zoology, but inclusive of all sciences. Started in October of 2009, my goal is to communicate scientific knowledge (and the occasional piece of nonsense) in an informative and entertaining manner. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns, or criticism at superoceras(at)gmail(dot)com, and follow me on Twitter @Superoceras for all that and more in 140 characters or less!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

SVP 2010 (Day1): From the Sea to the Trees

This afternoon, SVP talks were all over the place. I started out in Technical Session IV, where talks on marine tetrapods abounded. Everything from marine iguanas, to plesiosaurs, to shastasaurids. As someone that started out in undergrad as a marine biology major, and someone that took several classes with Dr. Merck, I've always had a soft spot for the brave tetrapod groups that both left the sea for land, and left the land for the sea once again. My "family" is full of brave pioneers. I couldn't be prouder.

For the second part of the afternoon, I moved onto Technical Session III, where I managed to catch a lot of the primate talks. We were introduced to three new species of omomyids from Wyoming, shown that our euprimate ancestors (and rodents) may have had a role to play in the decline of plesiadapaform primate species at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, and educated once again as to the true affinities of "Ida" and Adapoidea. While I'm sure this will not be the end of that particular story, at least some authors still contend that she is the Rosetta Stone of primate evolution, and that the most parsimonious phylogeny places Darwinius masillae on the Haplorrhini "branch" of the family tree, based on seven synapomorphies shared with the clade. I'm curious to see how this one turns out.

Next was the first poster session. My friend Eugenia ("pronounced O-henya") Gold presented her first poster, based on her undergraduate research at the University of Maryland, where she got down and dirty with Maryland geology and biostratigraphy as she attempts to correlate a Triassic fossil locality within the Gettysburg Basin. Nick Gardner of why i hate theropods was also in attendance with a poster on braincase anatomy of a basal diapsid. Very cool stuff. I think Nick is also going to be co-authoring a talk during the symposium on Tuesday morning, so be on the look out for that if you're in Pittsburgh.

There were lots of other great posters, and talks, but again, trying to be very respectful of the embargo policy, I'm going to leave it at that for now. I'll catch you all later tonight after the Welcome Reception at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. It's going to be awesome. And I'll hopefully have some photo content to share with you all as well!

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