Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Have a happy holiday season!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's a hearty Happy Thanksgiving wish to all of my American friends and family (and anyone else who is celebrating). Enjoy the day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dinosaur Research Institute's annual fundraising dinner

The Dinosaur Research Institute's annual fundraising dinner will be held on November 7, 2009 at 6PM at the Earl Grey Golf Club in Calgary. Tickets are $150 per person with tax receipts available for a large portion of the ticket cost. The funds raised go towards dinosaur research based in Alberta or for researchers from Alberta to conduct research outside of the province (such as visiting distant museums, etc.).

The Dinosaur Research Institute also maintains the Rene Vandervelde grant, which provides funds for Alberta-based dinosaur researchers to present at conferences as well as the Darren Tanke Neoceratopsian Scholarship which provides funds for ceratopsian workers to visit distant museums, present at conferences, etc.

During the dinner, several presentations from past recipients will occur and a paleontology student from Alberta will be present at each table. A silent auction will be held after the dinner with numerous interesting items available.

For more information, visit Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bristol SVP

So, another SVP conference under my belt. I believe it was my 8th. Having SVP in Bristol, England, was a lot of fun even with the glitches (the venue was way too small - I don't think they ever envisioned that 1100 people would attend!; they 'lost' my registration, but my boyfriend was registered twice - go figure; the walk between venues was about 10 minutes - so you had to plan ahead which can be hard after partying all night). However, it was all worth it. I saw many interesting talks and it was good to see everyone and find out how their research has been going. Plus the sightseeing was awesome. I love that I spent time in buildings that are older than my country! : )

Next year SVP is in Pittsburgh, which I'm sure won't be quite as scenic, but should still be a good time. Lookin' forward to it!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thank you field assistants!!

I just wanted to send out a great big "Thank you!" to all my field and lab assistants this summer. You all helped out tremendously and will be mentioned in the acknowledgements of my dissertation! : )

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Collection of Scollard material at Dry Island

I've been working a site in the Scollard Formation of Dry Island Buffalo Jump Park that is looking quite promising. It was worked about 6 or 7 years ago by Dr. Don Brinkman and Allison Fotheringham (both of the Tyrrell Museum), but not really looked at since then. So far I've surface collected and found a nice theropod tooth (pictured above) and an ankylosaur scute as well as a lot of other small bits. We've also collected about 15 smallish (25-35 lb) bags of matrix. I'm going to be getting more bodies in the field with me this week and will collect even more material to wash during the winter. It would go much faster except we have to carry the bags up the Hill of Doom which has about a 35 degree slope on the path out and is about a half a kilometer long. I can only walk the hill once a day. I'm hoping my younger and fitter field assistants will be able to do it twice a day for the next week. : )

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New blog regarding 2010 scow trip

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Barnum Brown floating down the Red Deer River in Alberta to prospect and collect dinosaurs, Darren Tanke and I will be re-enacting this event during the summer of 2010. We've started a new blog that will keep everyone apprised of the status of the trip. It's called "Dinosaur Hunting by boat in 2010: Alberta, Canada" and can be found at We are planning to use this blog before, during and after the trip to post pictures, discuss plans and just generally let everyone know how things are going. It's going to be a fun and educational trip and I hope that everyone will join us on the blog. We are open to discussion and hope that you will feel free to ask any questions that you may have.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

No SVP awards banquet

I have to say I'm a bit annoyed at SVP at the moment. I recently read an email from SVP President Blair Van Valkenburg that states they couldn't find a room big enough to hold all of us, so they are going to change the awards banquet to a simple ceremony. While I'm really looking forward to the conference, the fact that we don't get an awards banquet this year is kind of annoying. I understand that the economy is in the crapper, but I find it hard to believe that the university doesn't have a room large enough to hold us all. Where do they hold their graduation ceremonies?
I feel that I paid a lot to register (even as a student) as well as $1100 (CDN) for the flight, and will be paying around $115 (US) per night for the hotel, plus then food and incidentals. I think the least they could do is have a banquet. The food doesn't have to be spectacular - I'd be happy with sandwiches and chips. And I'd bet good money that when the economy does pick back up that the banquet will still be history. Actually, I found it rather amusing that she mentioned that there will not be food during coffee breaks (just cookies) because I can only think of one meeting where there was real food during coffee breaks and that was at Bozeman. I remember everyone being surprised and delighted at the food and snarfing down.
I won't even go into the whole Attenborough lecture fiasco - especially since I ended up getting tickets much to my surprise.
Oh well. I'm still be attending and looking forward to seeing everyone and being in Bristol, even if it means I have to give up the banquet.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

INHIGEO 2009: Fossils & Fuel

The INHIGEO 2009 conference is being held in Calgary on August 10-14. The symposium will be concentrating on fossils and fuel. Darren and I will be attending and he will be giving 4 solo talks and is a co-author on another. I'm looking forward to learning about the world wide history behind fossil and fuel discoveries.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Field Work Fun

Despite a slight back injury causing some delays, I've been collecting matrix for my PhD project which is a microvertebrate study of the Scollard Fm here in Alberta. One very nice Saturday, Darren, Natasha and I visited and collected from a productive road cut.

We found a nice layer where Ornithischian tooth fragments, gar and other fish scales, crocodile teeth, etc (all typical Scollard microfossils) were eroding out.
Also found was this turtle plate that was surprisingly complete. I have, of course, lost my usual scale bar and had forgotten my new one, so made due with the Blistex tube that I always have with me. I've been accused of being addicted to the stuff in the past, but I always figured there are worse things to be addicted to. : )

Anyway, the turtle plate turned out to be a Chelydrid hypoplastron which Dr. Don Brinkman (of the Royal Tyrrell Museum and my co-supervisor) seemed pleased with.
We ended up collecting 7 bags of test matrix and I'm excited to get the material washed next week. I'll then sort through it, picking out the fossils and doing my best to identify them (I'm still new at this) and decide whether it's worth going back to do major collection.
This is just one of six sites I've seen thus far and I hope to visit more further north on the Red Deer River soon. I'll do my best to update the blog as I go along.
I did want to mention that in Alberta, one must have an excavation permit to collect matrix or do anything other than surface collect and to be sure that you always have proper landowner permission before going onto any site.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gaffney Turtle Symposium

Registration for the Gaffney Turtle Symposium, Oct. 17th & 18th of 2009, is up and running and abstracts are now being accepted. The deadline for early registration is September 7th. Abstracts may be submitted until June 30th. Information on registration, abstract submission, and hotels is available at: Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just because...

I think this is hilarious! : )

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Horseshoe Canyon Fm fossil plant guide

Kevin Aulenback's guide to the fossil plants of the Horseshoe Canyon Fm will be available in June. I had the honor of leafing (Ha! Get it?) through it before publication and can say without hesitation that it's a lovely book. The color photographs are beautiful and the research very informative. I know that I'll be purchasing a copy.

It'll be available in June through the University of Calgary Press ( for $34.95 CDN. It is 400 pages long with over 800 color and black and white illustrations.

Congratulations to Kevin for a job well done!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Alberta fossil guide now available

The Alberta Palaeontological Society announces the release of the "Guide to Common Vertebrate Fossils from the Cretaceous of Alberta". This is an updated version of the classic guide by Hope Johnson including original artwork, color photographs and descriptions of fossils. This 234 page, spiral bound book is perfect for identification of fossils in the field or office.

It's $30 (Canadian) for non-APS members with $15 shipping and handling. See their website for more information:

I'm happy to have my copy and am positive that you'll enjoy it too.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Paleo2009 symposium

The Alberta Palaeontological Society's annual symposium is being held this weekend (March 14-15) at Mount Royal College in Calgary. Registration is free. Here's a list of Saturday's speakers:

9AM - introduction by APS president Don Quinsey

9:15 - Prothero, Occidental College, Los Angeles

"Stasis in late Pleistocene birds and mammals from Rancho La Brea during last glacial- interglacial cycle"

10:00 - Don Brinkman, Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

"The non-marine fish of the Late Cretaceous and early Paleocene of Western North

America - evidence from microvertebrate sites"

10:30 - Coffee break

10:45 - * Danielle Fraser, University of Calgary

"Studying latitudinal variation in the reponse of ungulates to late Miocene climate


11:15 - Keiichi Aotsuka, Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, Morden

"The first occurrence of the Baptornithidae in the Pierre Shale Formation (Pembina

Member) of Manitoba"

11:45-1:45 - Lunch break and poster viewing

1:45 - Darren Tanke, Royal Tyrrell Museum

"The use of helicopters in paleontological field work in Alberta, Canada"

2:15 - Murray Gingras, University of Alberta

"Pleistocene walrus predation; trace fossil evidence in Willapa Bay, Washington"

2:45 - * Jason Anderson, University of Calgary

"The impact of the 'frogamander' on ideas of modern amphibian evolution"

3:45 - Coffee break

4:00 - Joseph Hatcher, Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, Morden

"Paleotaxa of the Pierre Shale Formation, Southern Manitoba"

5:00 - Finish

There is also a workshop being held on Sunday from 9-12 AM on the "Comparative osteology of the fossil marine taxa of Southern Manitoba" by Joseph Hatcher of the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden. Registration for the workshop is manditory and costs $15.

* I've heard that these two may be switched around, but don't have confirmation of that fact.

There will also be poster presentations and fossils on display.

Hope to see everyone there!

Friday, March 6, 2009

BCPS call for abstracts

The Vancouver Paleontological Society presents the Eighth British Columbia Paleontological Symposium being held May 15-18, 2009 in Vancouver, BC. This year's keynote speaker is Dr. Gregory Wilson of the University of California, Berkeley, Department of Integrative Biology (although I believe they mean the University of Washington, Department of Biology since that's where Greg is now). The symposium will include talks by professionals as well as avocational paleontologists, field trips, workshops, retail booths and a paleo art show.

While the symposium highlights fossil mammals, they invite talks, posters and displays showcasing all aspects of paleontology.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is April 10, 2009.

Registrations for the full symposium is $100 for professional paleontologists and non-BCPA attendees, $80 for BCPS members and $60 for students.

For more information, please see their website at

As an aside - unfortunately, this symposium overlaps the Frenchman Formation Conference which is being held in Eastend, Saskatchewan from May 17-20. See below for more details on that conference.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Early registration for the Frenchman Fm conference approaches

Just a reminder that the deadline for early registration for the Frenchman Formation Terrestrial Ecosystem Conference is March 1, 2009. On or before March 1, the prices for registration are: $100 for students, $125 for non-students. After March 1, the price is $150 for all registrants. For information on registering, go to and scroll down to the bottom and look for the T.rex Centre - below is the link. Hope to see everyone there!

BTW - does anyone even look at this blog?! Just curious... ; )

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Royal Tyrrell Museum 2009 Speaker Series

As this is considered to be the "year of Darwin", the Tyrrell is hosting a plethora of interesting talks regarding the man and his works. Each talk is approximately 1 hour long and admission is free.

Friday Feb. 27 11AM Tai Kubo (Royal Tyrrell Museum) "Evolution of limb posture in archosaurs"

Sat. March 7 2PM Alwynne Beaudoin (Royal Alberta Museum) "Charles Darwin"

Sat. March 14 2PM Don Prothero (Occidental College, California) "Evolution: What the fossils say and why it matters"

Sat. March 21 2PM Dave Eberth (Royal Tyrrell Museum) "Evolution, creationism, and the quixotic nature of 'truth'"

Sat. April 4 2PM Paul Brinkman (North Caroline Museum) "Darwin's use of vertebrate fossil evidence to develop natural selection model"

Wed. April 8 11AM Gerald Smith (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) "Tectonic causes of fish species diversity patterns"

Sat. April 18 2PM David Weishampel (Johns Hopkins Univ., Maryland) "What about the dinosaurs, Charles Darwin?"

Sat. April 25 2PM Ted Daeschler (Academy of Natural Sciences, Pennsylvania) "Tiktaalik and the fish-tetrapod transition"

Sat. May 16 2PM Judith Scotchmoor (University College of Berkeley, California) "Supporting the teaching of evolution: A multi-faceted approach"

Hope you can attend!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Darwin Day Celebration at Mount Royal College

Darwin, Natural Selection and SEX: 150 years of getting it on. ( Public )
Date and Time: 2009-02-12 19:00:00

Mount Royal College, 4815 Mount Royal Gate SW
Ross Glenn Hall
Calgary/AB T3E 6K6 CANADA

Sponsor: Mount Royal College

Dr. Trevor Day
Phone: 403-276-5070

Monday, January 19, 2009

January Science Cafe

The University of Calgary and TELUS World of Science presents the January Science Cafe: Darwin's Origin of Species - "200 Years and Still Evolving?". Dr. Marc Ereshefsky (Dept. of Philosophy) and Dr. Jessica Theodor (Dept. of Biological Sciences) as well as special guest Dr. William Cade of the University of Lethbridge will be discussing the evolution of Darwin's theory over the past 150 years. It's being held on Tuesday, January 27 at The Brickyard (213 10th Ave SW) from 6:30-8:30. Seating is limited, so get there early if you don't want to be standing in the back.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

States and Countries visited

My friend Julia over at the Ethical Palaeontologist posted the map of states she's visited and challenged us to do the same. So here's mine.

I've been to airports in California and Washington, but I don't really think that airports should count, so I've left them out. I was born in Georgia and only lived there for the first 9 months of my life, but that counts, right? : )

My international map is pathetic. Other than North America I've only been to South Korea. I'm looking forward to adding England to it this September while at SVP.

Now it's your turn.