Well another year is all but over and the Musings, in all it’s incarnations, is now well into it’s fourth year. Eek! Still, the end of the year does provide a good opportunity to look back since the whirlwind of academia and the huge lag times of some projects means it can be very easy to lose track of what actually happened when. Last year, I stuck to a month by month review but this time it seemed easier to stick to major highlights.
While I have been putting up guest posts in various forms since the beginning, they really broke out in 2010. I had more than ever before and managed to get a number of researchers to describe their work, and especially new taxa, as the papers came through. The ongoing series of palaeoart interviews with many great artists has been a shining success with more hits and comments than pretty much anything else I have done on here, and has been a highlight for me too as I get to find out more about the background and thinking behind the work of many of my friends and colleagues. Finally, Darren Tanke’s superb commitment to his guest series (14 posts and counting!) as part of his Gorgosaurus preparatiuon has finally meant that this site has covered prep work properly (even if i didn’t write a word) and with great depth.
Sticking to the science communication side of things, Jan 2010 saw the official launch of Pterosaur.net and the accompanying blog (even if it was up and running in late 2009). This last year also saw the rebuilding of my Ask A Biologist site which is easier to use, more popular, and better looking than ever before. Another big dinosaur podcast also went down well, with thousands of listeners reaching a whole new audience. Thanks to all who have helped here.
On the subject of P.net, 2010 was always going to be a big pterosaur year what with the 2010 Flugsaurier meeting in Beijing. Another success after the launch in Munich in 2007, this gathered together dozens of pterosaur researchers to bicker and argue in totally new surroundings and resurrect old grudges and disagreements. A great time was had by all.
Flugsaurier was just one part of a stupidly busy summer for me. An interview back in Dublin meant that I traveled to Europe and back in just a few days, then moved apartment the day after my jetlagged return and went into the field the day after than. A couple of weeks of chasing down dinosaurs in Xinjiang and I was back in Beijing for Flugsaurier before I took up my new post in Ireland.
So finally my time in China is up, at least, in terms of being there full time. Three years was a long time to be ‘away’, especially as it followed two in Munich, but I’m now back in the English speaking part of Europe and much closer to friends and family. I’m carrying on my work in China of course though, with at least 2 trips already planned for the first half of 2011, I’ll not be short of jian bings or fossils.
On the research front, as ever I have been dabbling with pterosaurs an dinosaurs and various aspects of the two in terms of evolution, anatomy, taxonomy and more. Still, for me the highlight or main feature of the year has been the publication of a number of papers highlighting the behaviour of various theropods in terms of their behaviour. it was great to see bits on spinosaurs, alvarezsaurs, dromaeosaurs and especially tyrannosaurs get published. With a bit of luck, 2011 will see more of the same too with more papers in the works, and those who were at SVP this year (unlike me) might have spotted from the abstracts or presentations I was involved in.
That’s it for now. A successful 2011 in research and palaeo for you all.