Or – alternative title to this article – ‘It will be the best conference of all time’ (no hyperbole at all). Do you like dinosaurs? Are you particularly interested in our changing ideas about dinosaurs, about key discoveries and concepts, or about the evolution of our ideas, reconstructions and theories about dinosaurs? If the answer is yes then get ready to come to London in May 2008 for Dinosaurs – A Historical Perspective…
On May 6th and 7th this year, Burlington House in Piccadilly (London) will be hosting this most prestigious of meetings. We’ve arranged it through the History of Geology Group of The Geological Society of London, and also have the involvement of the Geologists’ Association (who are advertising the meeting here) and the Dinosaur Society (where the first announcement can still be seen here). The meeting will be preceded by a visit to the recently revamped Crystal Palace models, and after the meeting we’ll be having field trips to historically significant dinosaur-bearing sites of Dorset and the Isle of Wight. The conference is being organized by Richard Moody, Eric Buffetaut, David Martill and, well, me [that's us below: from right to left Moody, Buffetaut, Naish, Martill].
A number of speakers, talks and posters have already been confirmed, but we’re expecting more submissions and still have to receive some abstracts. If you work on this area, or if you want to present either a talk or poster at the meeting, you still have time if you hurry. What sort of things are we looking for? Essentially anything academic that has contributed to our understanding of dinosaurs over the years, or has affected portrayals or views of them. We are therefore interested not only in scientific views, paradigms and theories, and in the discovery and interpretation of specimens, species, and clades, but also in the history of dinosaur restorations, reconstructions and artwork across time, in the portrayal of dinosaurs in cinema, and so on. Does research at the meeting have to be on dinosaurs? After much discussion we have agreed that submissions on non-dinosaurian Mesozoic reptiles are welcome, so there are likely going to be some marine reptile and pterosaur presentations as well. This does confuse the issue somewhat given that the term dinosaur has a strict and specific meaning, but I can just about cope with it.
I’d particularly like to bring to attention the fact that we still have various ‘historical gaps’ that we’d like to fill – areas where there is plenty of stuff to talk about, but as yet no takers or submissions that address the area concerned. These include the 20th century history of dinosaur excavation in China, South America’s noble history of dinosaur collecting, and research in Australia. It would be nice to see more on the history of African excavations (are there any experts on S. H. Haughton out there?). If you have an idea but are concerned that someone else might already have planned to present on it, ask us (email me, or Richard Moody at the address given below). Biographical reviews are welcomed on historically significant people (interpret ‘historically significant’ however you want), so long as – obviously – the dinosaur-themed part of their work is the emphasis.
The deadline for abstract submission is January 28th 2008 (sorry that notice is so short, damn all that amphibian conservation work and pesky day-job stuff) and abstracts should be submitted by email to Dick Moody at email@example.com. A full technical volume, published as one of the Geological Society’s Special Publications, will result from this meeting, so authors of talks or posters are encouraged to submit their work as a paper afterwards. The deadline for submission of papers is July 30th 2008.
Finally, if you can help by mentioning the conference on discussion groups, blogs and websites, please do (can someone please letter-drop DML, vertpaleo and DinoBase). Email me if you want a copy of the third circular (firstname.lastname@example.org). Seriously – I think that this conference is going to be great, so if you can help in participating, coming along, or drumming up further support, please do! More about the meeting here at Tet Zoo as and when it happens.
Coming next: Ingridia vs Tupandactylus!