Greetings to all and sundry

This has been a long time in coming and I do hope I will pickup some new readers here, so it seems practical to give myself an introduction to you. I started blogging briefly around 2 years ago and gave up thaks to a lack of motivation before getting more and more involved in the Dinobase forums and eventually blogging on there heavily. However, the limitations were obvious (no RSS, no images, unwieldy comments system etc.) and it was always my intention to move on once I had managed to get past the, errrr, internet difficulties of my current host country. Now here I am, and with a bucketload of old blog posts dragged over, given a general spruce up and a few photos added. Even if you have read everything I have done before, its worth a quick peek to see the new images and if you are new here, its worth a trip to the old site to see all the posts that did not make the move, and the original comments of those that did. My blog tends to be pretty technical a lot of the time, so might not be accessible to many readers, though I often deal with the wider issues in science, research and education as well as musing on archosaurs.

Onto the main thrust of this ‘first’ post – who I am and what I do. Well, the name at the top of the page should be a give away, and the general topic is quite clear too. Still “archosaurs” is a big topic and there is lots to do within this huge and important group of reptiles, so perhaps its easiest to talk about how I got here.
At my desk in the IVPP

I have always been obsessed and fascinated by animals and it really was inevitable that I would end up in academia, just a question of when and how. While at high school I was working in London Zoo as a volunteer keeper ad got to ‘play’ with giraffe, okapi, rhino, oryx and others on my weekends. My batchelors degree was in zoology where I specialised in locomotion and behaviour more than anything (with lots of ecology, cladistics and fish biology). This was followed by a Masters in taxonomy (with a healthy sprinkling of cladistics, macroevolution and conservation) and then a chance twist in the course of my masters thesis led me into looking at dinosaur evolution and thence onto a PhD with the great Mike Benton in vertebrate palaeontology where I focused on the origin of pterosaurs. From here I got a postdoctoral position with Oli Rauhut in Munich working on sauropod phylogenetics and after that was lucky enough to land another position in Beijing with the legendary Xu Xing working on theropod ecology and evolution.

My office will never be this cool again.That is about as short as I can keep it really. As for my research themes, they are varied and I do tend to jump around a great many subjects, having all kinds of pots boiling and working with quite an array of collaborators on various aspects of archosaurian evolution. The pterosaurs and theropods form the primary subects of my research, and to them I a happy to analyse factors like ecology, evolution, phylogenetics, size changes, behaviour, functional morphology and mechanics, sexual selection, and good old taxonomy. It keeps me busy.

Outside of the fundamentals of research I am very keen of science communication, and getting to grips with the public. As a result I founded and run Ask A Biologist (which is rather self explanatory) and act as an administrator on Dinobase, in addition to writing this blog, and I still have a few more projects that are gathering momentum and I hope will be launched soon.
In the IVPP basement with Jehol birds
That should keep people going for now. It just leaves me to say ‘welcome’, plug in an RSS, drop in a comment or two and take a look around. Oh, and thanks to Luis Rey for the use of his magnificant artwork for the banner.

9 Responses to “Greetings to all and sundry”

  1. 1 Manabu Sakamoto 20/06/2008 at 4:08 pm

    Hey Dave,

    Glad to see your new blog up and running. You know, for some reason, I find it a lot easier to read things on proper blog styles than the public forum we’ve got at Dinobase…

    Best of luck and I’ll be looking forward to your new posts.

    BTW, thanks for the link to Raptor’s Nest – I’ve also linked to yours.


  2. 2 Nick Gardner 25/06/2008 at 2:19 pm

    Fantastic, David!

    I’ve subscribed to your feed and look forward to reading! I’ll make sure I blogroll you. 🙂

  3. 3 Zach Miller 25/06/2008 at 6:54 pm

    OMGeeee! Dave has a real blog! This is too awesome, brother. Like Manabu, I have a much easier time reading this blog than your old Dinobase one. Congrats, and welcome to my blogroll!

  4. 4 Nick Gardner 27/06/2008 at 12:36 am

    Million dollar question though, what’s in your fish tank?

  5. 5 davehone 27/06/2008 at 9:11 am

    Mostly water with a bit of sand. However there are some angelfish, tiger barbs and kuhli loaches. Two apple snails thrived for a while and then mysteriously keeled over a few days apart. Of and soem nicely growing Java fern.

    As for the million, I’ll take a cheque thanks.

  6. 6 Nick Gardner 27/06/2008 at 2:35 pm

    My closet (sort of) enthusiasm for tropical fish seems to be coming out in full force now…

    How many liters (or gallons) does it hold? Do your tiger barbs nip your angelfish much? I wouldn’t have thought to put those two species together… What sort of filtration do you have? It looks like you have a powerhead in the tank.

  7. 7 davehone 28/06/2008 at 9:44 pm

    It’s only about a 30 L tank, running off a powerhead and spray bar int a some filter media wool. Goes OK, but gets too much sun, so algae is a problem. No issues with competition and fighting in the fish (though I had to take a Betta out becuase the angles went for him).

    It’s all pretty tame really compared to my old set-ups, though I do have some pfrogs and newts in another tank here. If you really like fish, I suggest you look up Dr Annectens at the University of Bristol, Dept. of Earth Sciences for a real expert and old frined of mine.

  8. 8 Janet25 04/08/2008 at 3:32 am

    Super. It took almost a day to find this info. Thanks, great job. 🙂

  9. 9 Simonbike 05/08/2008 at 8:10 pm

    I love your blog…really. Did you already hear about water on mars? 🙂

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