TetZooCon 2019

TetZooCon 2019

TetZooCon 2019

Palaeoart at TetZooCon 2019 | Photo credit: Talita Bateman - Art credit:  Paul Glynn

Palaeoart at TetZooCon 2019 | Picture credit score: Talita Bateman – Artwork credit score: Paul Glynn

I can not consider many occasions to which I look ahead as a lot as TetZooCon yearly, and I’m glad to report that this 12 months’s occasion didn’t disappoint. As soon as once more, Darren Naish and John Conway managed to place collectively an unbelievable panel of talks and palaeoartists for all of us Tetrapod Zoology fanatics to get pleasure from. Put together yourselves, my pals, as a result of this put up can be a VERY lengthy one!

To recap, TetZooCon is an annual occasion primarily based on themes explored by Darren Naish in his well-known Tetrapod Zoology Weblog. Equally to final 12 months, the occasion was held at UCL in London and passed off on the 19th and 20th October. TetZooCon, as anticipated, had a fantastic collection of themes, together with the much-anticipated dialogue panels or roundtable discussions and e book signings. We had been additionally handled to some wonderful artwork and means an excessive amount of temptation from all of the stalls promoting palaeo associated goodies. These fascinated by palaeoart had the chance to enroll in the Palaeoart Workshop, which featured a pleasant little competitors on the finish as nicely.

For these of us whose foremost space of curiosity is herpetology, we had been handled to a fantastic discuss by the beautiful Alice Pawlik however extra on that additional down the put up – for now, let’s dive into every of the talks in chronological order.


Ellen Coombs at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman

Ellen Coombs at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Ellen Coombs

A Research of UK and Irish cetacean stranding data and an perception into their range over the previous 100 years

Whale strandings have actually been outstanding within the information lately however they don’t give us an perception into what the information on strandings imply. Fortunately for us, Ellen Coombs kicked issues off with an extremely informative discuss on stranding data for the previous 100 years throughout the UK and Irland for various whale species. As we all know, odontocetes are rather more quite a few than mysticetes and stranding data appear to mirror that; nonetheless, stranding data on Blue Whales, as an illustration, are very low. Sadly, based on Ellen, that is probably attributable to overhunting (by people, clearly) greater than the rest.

Listening to about her analysis was actually attention-grabbing – from in search of historic occurrences that might have an effect on spikes on stranding reviews in addition to vitamins current within the water and migration routes, to the results that geomagnetic exercise can have on whales – I believe I might fortunately hear Ellen speak about her analysis for hours on finish.

Ellen dubbed the top a part of her discuss because the ‘cool stuff’ and funky it actually was! She and her group carried out an isotope check from the baleen plates of the Blue Whale skeleton hanging from the Hintze Corridor on the Pure Historical past Museum in London. The outcomes gave us an incredible perception into the specimen’s trajectory all through its life. For those who’d prefer to know extra about Ellen Coombs and her work, take a look at a few of her revealed papers and observe her on twitter @ellencoombs.


Jack Ashby at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman (Yes, I chose this slide on purpose)

Jack Ashby at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman (Sure, I selected this slide on goal)

Jack Ashby

Pure Historical past Museum’s collections and biases

I really like visiting pure historical past museums and it’s one thing I make some extent of doing every time I journey. Subsequently, having an perception into how they work and select their collections from somebody who manages one in all my favorite museums, the College Museum of Zoology (Cambridge), was greater than I might ever count on!

I purchased and browse Jack’s e book ‘Animal Kingdom: A Pure Historical past in 100 Objects’ some time in the past and had been that means to put up a overview for a while. Nevertheless, when Darren introduced that Jack can be one of many audio system at TetZooCon, I made a decision to attend for his discuss and get my copy signed. Stupidly, I forgot my copy of his e book on Saturday (when his discuss passed off) so I needed to hunt him down on Sunday and beg him to signal it for me, which he very kindly did!

Now to the precise discuss – it was fairly superior! Regardless of managing a pure historical past museum himself, Jack didn’t draw back from including some actual critique on how they function – in actual fact, his discuss was a really nicely balanced evaluation of their worth and obligations.

Briefly, I believe all of us discovered so much about walrusses, convergent evolution, the position of patriarchy in historic taxidermy and the way museums must take the general public’s emotions and biases in direction of sure animals into consideration when getting ready their shows. I’ll positively dedicate a extra detailed put up to the latter level. For those who’d prefer to know extra about Jack’s work, observe him on twitter @JackDAshby and positively learn his e book!


TetZooCon 2019 Palaeo Rountable Discussion - Left to Right: Chris Barker, Jordan Bestwick, Dave Hone, Rebecca Lakin and Darren Naish | Credit: Talita Bateman

TetZooCon 2019 Palaeo Rountable Dialogue – Left to Proper: Chris Barker, Jordan Bestwick, Dave Hone, Rebecca Lakin and Darren Naish | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Dinosaur (and Pterosaur) Palaeobiology Roundtable Dialogue

with Darrain Naish, Rebecca Lakin, David Hone, Jordan Bestwick and Chris Barker

If there’s one factor I took away from that is the significance of going the place the proof takes you and never making inferences that can not be supported by stated proof. Actually, the Ford vs Naish smackdown final 12 months was a fantastic instance of this! The highlights of the discussions for me had been:

  • Rebecca Lakin stating “Sexual choice is to palaeontology what faith is to archaeology”;

  • Dialogue on pterosaurs and the cautioning on lack of knowledge and pigeon-holing traits or concepts; and

  • Chris Barker teasing Darren about Ford.


Dr Mike Dickison at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman

Dr Mike Dickison at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Dr Mike Dickison

What’s a local hen? “Indigenous is a Continuum”

All the way in which from New Zealand, Mike Dickison, talked concerning the avian fossil historical past of New Zealand and the that means of ‘native’ of their wildlife conservation legal guidelines, particularly in birds. He mentioned how the phrases ‘native’ or ‘invasive’ are generally linked to public sentiment. His instance on how New Zealanders react in a different way to the information of a cat catching a Tui vs a cat catching a European Blackbird speaks quantity. All of it turns into significantly attention-grabbing for a spot like New Zealand since human inhabitation is a reasonably latest occasion in historical past when in comparison with different areas of the globe. In terms of ‘native’ birds, an absence of fossils doesn’t imply these species weren’t there, it might simply imply that data haven’t been discovered.

Nevertheless, greater than the good lesson in conservation, we additionally acquired a lesson in ethics. His discuss very a lot spoke to his objective of accelerating gender stability in Wikipedia in addition to rising Maori publicity and illustration. I appreciated Mike’s fixed references to Maori tradition and names for the islands’ fauna. Actually, I tremendously appreciated his point out of ‘Pakeha’, or white folks, as immigrants to the land and never as ‘explorers’ as many authors do.

For those who’d prefer to know extra about Dr Mike Dickison’s work, go to his web site or observe him on twitter @adzebill.


Alice Pawlik at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman

Alice Pawlik at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Alice Pawlik

Adventures in native amphibian conservation

Final 12 months, herpetology was represented at TetZooCon by Steve Allain, who offered his PhD work in snake fungal illness. This 12 months, Alice Pawlik talked us by means of amphibian conservation within the UK and her work on Pool Frogs with the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation UK (ARC UK). I need to say, regardless of appreciating the difficulties concerned with such a undertaking, I used to be very jealous! Superb work, Alice! She additionally talked about her upcoming PhD work, which goals to find out if antimicrobial pollution play a job in altering amphibian ranavirus susceptibility within the frequent frog by modifying pores and skin microbiome construction.

Contemplating that 40% of amphibians species are in decline, Alice’s work, and that of others within the space are of utmost significance. Throughout most of the different talks that touched on conservation and funding points, one factor grew to become very clear – the general public’s notion of sure animals have an effect on their conservation efforts. As an example, in his discuss, Jack Ashby talked concerning the bias that museums have in direction of mammal shows, purely as a result of the final inhabitants get pleasure from seeing furry animals. Paul Stewart, who was a part of the roundtable dialogue on pure historical past film-making (extra on that later) and the person behind the well-known racer snake vs child marine iguana scene, talked of his dilemma on whether or not to incorporate the scene or not since so many individuals have a phobia of snakes.

The identical situation offered itself once more throughout Amy Schwartz’s discuss on roadkill data within the UK (extra on that later). Whereas answering a query in the course of the Q&A session, Amy confirmed that they very not often obtained any reviews on reptiles, even on large reptiles resembling snakes; and it’s honest to imagine that public sentiment actually performs a component – folks merely don’t take into consideration the standing of sure animals.

Subsequently, in case you’d like to assist, get entangled with organisations like ARC UK, Froglife, SAVE THE FROGS!, and so on. Additionally, positively take a look at Alice’s work and observe her on twitter @alicepawlik.


Amber Eames at tetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman

Amber Eames at tetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Amber Eames

Flight of the Swans

Amber was the primary speaker on the ‘pure historical past film-making’ matter. Her documentary for the WWT, Flight of the Swans, focuses on the conservation of Bewick’s Swans. In accordance with Amber, new expertise allowed them to trace and observe the birds’ migration from summer season in Russia to winter within the UK.

The entire expedition took Three months and highlighted the significance of wetlands alongside the migratory pathway to the birds’ survival. It additionally highlighted the numerous difficulties and obstacles that the birds face, resembling energy traces and unlawful shootings. The WWT has began a wetlands undertaking, aiming to extend the sharing of knowledge between scientists from totally different international locations alongside the birds’ flight trajectory.

Amber shared an attention-grabbing truth about Bewick’s Swans that helped her and her group determine particular person birds all through the journey – the form of the yellow a part of their beak is sort of a human fingerprint, or the markings on high of an adder’s head – distinctive to every hen.

For those who’d prefer to know extra about Amber and her undertaking, go to their web site and observe her on twitter @AmberEames.


TetZooCon 2019 Natural History Film-Making Roundtable Discussion - Left to Righ: Nick Lyon, Paul Stewart, Zoe Cousins and Amber Eames | Credit: Talita Bateman

TetZooCon 2019 Pure Historical past Movie-Making Roundtable Dialogue – Left to Righ: Nick Lyon, Paul Stewart, Zoe Cousins and Amber Eames | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Pure Historical past Movie-Making Roundtable Dialogue

with Darren Naish, Amber Eames, Zoe Cousins, Nick Lyon and Paul Stewart.

So I used to be barely fangirling throughout this discuss – Paul Stewart was concerned with the filming of one in all my favorite documentaries, Life in Chilly-Blood – wasn’t anticipating that huh?! This dialogue as soon as once more was nice, I believe it actually highlighted the identical funding points that we’ve got in conservation efforts for sure animals – public notion, and so on. Highlights had been:

  • Paul Stewart speaking about how the racer snake vs child iguana scene got here to gentle and telling us about his scary encounters with an unusually courageous pack of lions;

  • Nick Lyon on his connection to his star leaping spider and the wild canines whereas filming. Additionally, the difficulties concerned with filming anthropological targeted documentaries and the good Jedi Chipmunk video;

  • Zoe Cousins speaking about her documentary on pigeons, which actually resonated with me due to a put up I wrote some time in the past, and their worth to society all through historical past as meals supply or saviours as service pigeons throughout WW1.

  • The dialogue on gender and variety stability points inside the pure historical past film-making business


Chris Barker at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman

Chris Barker at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Chris Barker

Illness, harm and the ecology of theropod dinosaurs

Chris’ discuss was very new to me – Palaeopathology will not be an space I’m very aware of in any respect, which is maybe the explanation I discovered it so fascinating. His discuss on sickness and the ‘ecology of concern’, which as I perceive is a little bit of a controversial time period, was actually enlightening. Specifically, I loved listening to concerning the variations in physiological responses to emphasize stimulus (particularly power stimulus) in wild vs captive-bred people.

The potential for supporting behavioural inferences with this knowledge is fairly thrilling. I positively acquired a lesson in pathology on the whole and its software and benefits to Paleontology. Chris concluded his discuss by highlighting that extra knowledge is certainly wanted in subject research with wild animals to try to set up extra constant patterns, since biomedical literature could not mirror an correct view of untamed people.

If you want to know extra about Chris Barker’s work, observe him on twitter @palaeoguy12.


Rebecca Lakin at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman

Rebecca Lakin at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Rebecca Lakin

Parental care evolution in dinosaurs and birds

Rebecca’s discuss targeted on her analysis in making an attempt to determine the prices and advantages of various types of parental type inside archosaurs, together with fashionable archosaurs resembling birds and crocodilians. In her discuss, she explored the totally different ranges of parental care supplied by totally different species, from nest constructing in sea turtles to direct feeding, private grooming and social bonds with grownup offsprings in birds resembling robins and different backyard birds.

When discussing prices and advantages to female and male dad and mom, she explored themes resembling sexual dimorphism in polygynous and monogamous species and mapped their relation to the extent of parental care supplied. When discussing the origins of parental care, we had been handled to a beautiful picture of the fossil of the oviraptor dubbed ‘Large Mama’ who appeared to have been brooding its eggs. Large Mama was initially assumed to be a feminine, nonetheless, doubt has been forged on that since a medullary bone wasn’t current within the specimen.

General, Rebecca’s presentation was true pleasure to look at and I sit up for seeing extra of her work sooner or later! For those who’d prefer to know extra about her work, go observe her on twitter @rj_lakin.


Dr Dave Hone at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman

Dr Dave Hone at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Dr David Hone

Defining dinosaurs: issues with terminology

Dave’s discuss, regardless of addressing palaeontology in its title, might be utilized to virtually each scientific self-discipline. The necessity for utilizing correct terminology doesn’t solely have an effect on educational papers, it filters by means of to science communication and what the media presents to most of the people.

From points within the definitions of life phases in palaeontology to the totally different phases at which species attain maturity, to ecological phrases resembling ‘semi-aquatic’ and ‘piscivore’ and using predation phrases when discussing scavenging, he just about schooled us all – and we’d like it! His instance of the dynamics in cheetas clearly illustrated the inaccurate means and context during which we use the phrase ‘household’. Actually, in the course of the Q&A, he defined how on the subject of palaeontology and extinct species, he wouldn’t use the time period in any respect since we merely shouldn’t have dependable sufficient knowledge to have the ability to infer that ‘teams’ had been a associated household.

After his discuss, I used to be in a position to purchase a replica of his e book ‘The Tyrannosaur Chronicles: The Biology of the Tyrant Dinosaurs’ and have it signed, so I’m a reasonably pleased lady proper now!

For those who’d prefer to know extra about David’s work, go to his web site or observe him on twitter @Dave_Hone.


Jordan Bestwick at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman

Jordan Bestwick at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Jordan Bestwick, the ‘palaeodentist’

Reconstructing the diets of pterosaurs utilizing dental microwear textural evaluation

Jordan talked us by means of the problems with totally different strategies which have been used to reconstruct the diets of pterosaurs to date, resembling comparative anatomy, content material fossil and purposeful morphology – all of which he very kindly defined!

He then talked us by means of his PhD work in utilizing dental microwear textural evaluation of dwelling reptiles, and even bats, to map out the ‘hardness’ of various meals consumed by these animals and examine them to those current in several pterosaur specimens. To finish his work, he visited numerous totally different museums to create moulds of specimens’ tooth, gaining his pleasant nickname of ‘palaeodentist’.

The outcomes of his examine decided that the dietary range in pterosaurs was excessive and that they originated as invertebrate shoppers and later advanced into carnivores and piscivores. He additionally supplied us with a slide that, though out of context right here, can be utilized in so many various eventualities – I imply…People, WTF?

For those who’d prefer to know extra about Jordan’s work, observe him on twitter @JordanBestwick1.


Amy Schwartz at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman

Amy Schwartz at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Amy Schwarts

Venture Splatter and utilizing citizen scientists to observe wildlife roadkill

I discussed Amy’s discuss earlier than throughout my overview of Alice Pawlik’s presentation however it’s price reiterating Venture Splatter’s impression on conservation efforts and what the data, or lack of data, signify for various species.

Venture Splatter (Socia Media Platform for Estimating Roadkill) is a UK primarily based undertaking that collects and assesses roadkill knowledge from throughout the UK through the use of reviews supplied by most of the people. There are a lot of methods for the general public to report roadkill, together with social media, a type on their web site and even a cell phone app. Since 2013, they’ve obtained greater than 67,000 data and the overwhelming majority of these are for decent-sized mammals and birds.

For those who too reside within the countryside, you received’t be stunned to listen to that in birds, 59% of the reviews relate to pheasants. Nevertheless, Amy defined {that a} additional examine confirmed that wild bred pheasants are a lot much less more likely to get hit by vehicles than these bred for capturing. A part of the explanation for the discrepancy is the extent of parental care supplied by wild pheasants.

One other attention-grabbing outcome from the undertaking is the way it highlighted the worth of animals that people many instances regard as ‘pests’ resembling foxes, gulls and corvids. These animals are proving a fantastic service to the ecosystem by serving to with the elimination of carcasses. It’s a pity how humanity regards different species which have tailored as nicely to city life as we’ve got.

Regardless of all the information, Amy talked about that we might be underestimating the quantity pf small vertebrates by as much as 6 instances attributable to a mix of the work of scavenger animals and the general public’s lack of inclination to report smaller animals. Moreover, reptiles and amphibians are actually underreported, which – in my view – sadly displays how most of the people regards these animals.

For those who’d prefer to know extra about Venture Splatter, go to their web site and positively observe Amy on twitter @lizardschwartz, I imply…she’s an authorized bat carer!


Dr Lauren McGough at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman

Dr Lauren McGough at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Dr Lauren McGough

Eagle predation and falconry in Eurasia, Africa and North America

Lauren’s discuss was very refreshing, I imply, what number of instances to you get to hearken to somebody speak about eagle falconry in Mongolia? Not to mention in the course of the winter! Lauren’s {photograph} of her frozen face and her tales of the eagles refusing to hunt as a result of it was too chilly had me feeling chilly. I need to admit that I knew little or no of falconry, to start with, nonetheless, it was nice to study ‘make-eagle’ strategies utilized by Mongolian eagle falconers, the place educated eagles are used to basically ‘train’ new eagles the ropes.

Lauren additionally mentioned the lengthy historic hyperlink between eagles and people and exhibits us some extremely cute images of how built-in eagles are inside the Mongolian group the place she was staying.

In the course of the Q&A she was requested if there was a particular purpose for the Mongolians to make use of feminine eagles somewhat than male ones. She clarified that the explanations are maybe extra carefully linked to a cultural foundation than a scientific one. Feminine eagles are larger than males and one’s eagle’s dimension might be maybe linked to standing inside the group. She thought-about the truth that a much bigger eagle would theoretically have the ability to goal larger prey, nonetheless, she believes there’s no factual foundation for this declare, with male eagles being simply as succesful.

For those who’d prefer to know extra about Lauren’s work, go observe her on twitter @eaglefalconer.


Dr Ross Barnett at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit: Talita Bateman

Dr Ross Barnett at TetZooCon 2019 | Credit score: Talita Bateman

Dr Ross Barnett

The previous and way forward for Britain’s misplaced mammals

Properly, it’s honest to say that I used to be very enthusiastic about this discuss. I left to purchase this e book throughout TetZooCon because it meant I might have it signed on the similar time. Nevertheless, unluckily for me, talks had been working late and since I needed to depart simply earlier than the quiz began, I didn’t handle to purchase the e book. A bit dejected, I made a decision to pop into Waterstones on my solution to the practice station and rapidly seize a replica of ‘The Lacking Lynx’. I felt somewhat fortunate once I observed that there was just one copy left. Nevertheless, to my utter astonishment, Dr Barnett had stopped by that department and signed the copy of the booked I picked up – I went from feeling somewhat fortunate to tremendous fortunate!

Tales of my luck apart, the discuss itself was very cool. From hyenas, to cave bears, to beavers and, in fact, the lynx, all of us discovered so much. I completely appreciated Ross’s overview on conservation strategies resembling reintroduction makes an attempt, rewilding examples, resurrection prospects and eventually, the one R we’re left with – remembrance.

I’m actually trying ahead to studying his e book ‘The Lacking Lynx: The Previous and Way forward for Britain’s Misplaced Mammals’ and just about every other books he publishes sooner or later! For those who’d prefer to know extra about Ross Barnett’s work, observe him on twitter @DeepFriedDNA.


Tim Haines at TetZooCon 2019 z Credit: Talita Bateman

Tim Haines at TetZooCon 2019 z Credit score: Talita Bateman

Tim Haines

On Strolling with Dinosaurs and 20 years of widespread digital palaeontology

The final discuss of the day was one thing very totally different from the others and one to which lots of people appeared to have been trying ahead if all of the cheering was something to go by!

Tim mentioned the palaeo digital business and the obstacles with producing high-quality immersive content material. When speaking concerning the success of Strolling with Dinosaurs, he quoted his timing as being significantly fortunate and talked of his objective of getting most of the people to consider dinosaurs as animals and never as monsters with tooth.

He additionally talked concerning the significance of making an emotional connection between the viewers and the people on movie, in wildlife and palaeo documentaries, so as to have the ability to inform an enticing and significant story.

To wrap it up (lastly!!!) after writing greater than 3,500 phrases, TetZooCon this 12 months was wonderful and positively price each penny. Hopefully, we can have many extra within the years to return!

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