Over the course of my research career I have, like so many scientists, accrued a ridiculous list of ‘semi-complete’, ‘near-complete’ and ‘essentially complete’ research projects, all of which are sitting there, awaiting that extra investment of time and effort required to get them to the submission stage. A colleague recently accused me of being a lazy bastard because I have still not published a paper on a specimen that I’ve had in my care for over five years now: it’s a new small theropod from the Santana Formation, definitely distinct from the other named Santana Formation theropods (Irritator challengeri Martill et al., 1996, Angaturama limai Campos & Kellner, 1996*, Santanaraptor placidus Kellner, 1999 and Mirischia asymmetrica Naish et al., 2004). Indeed, I gave a conference talk about this theropod way back in 2003: you’d think that, by now, something on it would have appeared in the technical literature. Yes, it’s true, what a lazy, lazy bastard I am…
* Angaturama limai is almost certainly synonymous with Irritator challengeri, though (unfortunately) the latter beat the former into print by something like two weeks.
[If you're wondering about the Veronica Lodge cover: well, I got my reasons, ok?]
It would be trite to show exactly how lazy I’ve been over the past five years. Let’s just look at 2008, a year in which I was excessively lazy. I only published two – ha, two – peer-reviewed papers (Naish & Martill 2008, Witton & Naish 2008), only one book review worth noting (Naish 2008a), and only one popular article (Naish 2008b). I also wrote a book (but it hasn’t been published yet, so can’t yet be used to show how lazy I was in 2008).
Oh, together with Mark Witton I completed a manuscript on tapejarid pterosaurs (it also has yet to see publication), I submitted a paper with two colleagues (Michael Woodley and Hugh Shanahan) on pinniped discovery rates, another with Don Henderson on flotation dynamics, another with SV-POW! boys Mike and Matt on functional anatomy, and another (a biography of the late Alan Charig) with Dick Moody. I also submitted a short paper on saurischian pneumaticity, and completed the better part of a huge editorial job that took up the first half of the year. Roger Benson, Steve Brusatte, Steve Hutt and I got a paper into press at Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. I also helped organise and run a meeting (Dinosaurs – A Historical Perspective), I helped edit an abstract volume for an international conference (the 56th Symposium on Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy), and I only gave four conference presentations (Moody & Naish 2008, Naish 2008c, Naish & Witton 2008, plus BCiB talk). Only four: how pathetic! [in adjacent - unrelated - image, Graeme attacks! Full caption here].
Yes, I stand guilty as charged: lazy, lazy, lazy.
So, to help me be more efficient and actually get stuff done in 2009, I’ve decided to write down what Mike and Matt call a Prioritised Order of Publishing (or POOP) list for 2009. This isn’t the whole thing, but here are the highlights… [adjacent image shows one of the slides from the presentation that accompanied Naish (2008c)]
— Unfortunately, tapejarid pterosaurs are top of the list. I say ‘unfortunately’ because another manuscript has to be completed first: a manuscript which has been extensively delayed by a co-author who shall remain nameless. It’s all to do with this.
— Yes, Dave Hone… that project. I haven’t forgotten.
— The new Santana Formation theropod should fit somewhere around here. Once it’s in press maybe I won’t look so lazy; my bad.
— During 2009, a full monographic description of Neovenator will appear. That’s nothing to do with me, but it acts as a reminder that the paper on the pathologies of the Neovenator holotype is now well overdue. ‘All’ I have to do is complete the figures.
— The ‘re-evaluation of Yaverlandia‘ paper really must see the light of day. It needs tidying, plus incorporation of the excellent CT data I have. The primary conclusion is already out there in the literature, and even Peter Galton thinks I could be right.
— Valdoraptor and Becklespinax must also be put to sleep.
— I really should get the Eotyrannus monograph sorted before someone else comes along and beats me to it. Having said that, things are moving along there – more news when appropriate.
So there we have it. Sorry for being such a monumental failure, and for being so bone-idle and unproductive: I promise to work EVEN HARDER in 2009. Incidentally, I’ve had to give up Tet Zoo the book as I’m too lazy to finish it. Or, too busy.. I can’t remember.
Refs – –
Moody, R. T. J. & Naish. D. 2008. Alan Jack Charig (1927-1997). An anecdotal tribute! In Moody, R., Buffetaut, E., Martill, D. & Naish, D. (eds) Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Saurians: A Historical Perspective. Abstracts of Meeting Held on the 6-7 May 2008. Geological Society of London, London, p. 60.
Naish, D. 2008a. [Review of] Patagonian Mesozoic Reptiles. The Palaeontology Newsletter 62, 92-97.
– . 2008b. Intelligent dinosaurs. Fortean Times 239, 52-53.
– . 2008c. Conan-Doyle [sic], Piltdown, and the dinosaur in the well: obscure Wealden dinosaurs and the stories behind them. In Moody, R., Buffetaut, E., Martill, D. & Naish, D. (eds) Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Saurians: A Historical Perspective. Abstracts of Meeting Held on the 6-7 May 2008. Geological Society of London, London, pp. 8-9.
– . & Martill, D. M. 2008. Dinosaurs of Great Britain and the role of the Geological Society of London in their discovery: Ornithischia. Journal of the Geological Society, London 165, 613-623.
– . & Witton, M. P. 2008. The feeding behaviour of azhdarchid pterosaurs. In Dyke, G., Naish, D. & Parkes, M. (eds) SVPCA 2008: Programme & Abstracts, Dublin 2008. National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, pp. 41-42.
Witton, M. P. & Naish, D. 2008. A reappraisal of azhdarchid pterosaur functional morphology and paleoecology. PLoS ONE 3 (5): e2271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002271