Musings on 2010

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 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, 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.

9 Responses to “Musings on 2010”

  1. 1 David Stern 29/12/2010 at 1:08 pm

    Looks like you had a very productive year! Happy New Year!

  2. 3 Darren Tanke 30/12/2010 at 3:45 am

    Dave, thanks for the thumbs up on my contributions to your blog. I know there is much more to tell on the Gorgosaurus. Thanks for the opportunity to show the digital community the “hows” of fossil preparation of a major specimen. We hope to have the Gorgosaurus ready for flipping over mid to late February, 2011.

  3. 5 mattvr 30/12/2010 at 10:51 am

    Congrats on a big 2010 Dave!
    Have thoroughly enjoyed your blog and look forward to much more in 2011.
    Places like this bridge the gap between laypeople and the scientific community, you’re doing a great job.

  4. 6 Mark Robinson 31/12/2010 at 7:50 am

    Yes, a hearty congrats from me too. This is one of my favourite blogs (not just palaeo-themed ones). I’m not sure how you find the time to post something almost every day but I’m glad that you do (SV-POW! lads – take note!).

    I’ve enjoyed the interviews and guest posts, and their (guest posters’) willingness to respond to specific questions.

    I am especially grateful to Darren Tanke (and his employer) for the time and effort that he has put into the series of articles on the Gorgo prep. I particularly appreciated the depth of detail regarding the tools and techniques.

    Awesome blog all round.

  5. 8 Darren Tanke 01/01/2011 at 3:08 am

    Thanks Mark!

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