As usual to round off the year it’s time for a bit of fun, so here’s my take on the last 12 months in archosaurs.
Most important new archosaur discovery
There’s not been much this year that I’d truly class as being the most important find of the year, the kind of thing that will still be making headlines or leading papers 20 years from now. I guess the combination of a new Archaeopteryx and Xiaotingia will go a long way on the subject or bird origins for quite some time to come.
Best newly discovered archosaur specimen
Has to be a Darwinopterus with an egg. Great pterosaur specimen it it’s own right, but that’s a hell of an addition with it.
Best named new archosaur
I’m rather taken with Spinops, so this one is going to Andy Farke and colleagues.
Worst named new archosaur
I’m not giving this to Zhuchengtyrannus simply because it wasn’t my choice of name!Instead it goes to Unwindia. I know it was supposed to be a bit of a gag, but really it just sounds weird.
The ‘Similicaudipteryx’ award for lest original archosaur name
Last year I wrote “I know Xu Xing doesn’t read this, so I’m probably quite safe plumping for Tianyuraptor. It’s a raptor from Tianyu. Great.”. This year brought us Linehnykus and Linhevenator to join Linheraptor. Oh.
Most egregious media error on archosaurs
Hard to pick out anything specific, but pretty much everything written about Xiaotingia and ‘Archaeopteryx isn’t a bird!!!!’ was pretty poor. It was, to be fair, not an easy subject to get to grips with, but so many people failed so magnificently it was a real shame.
Best media report
I’ve really not read that much this year for popular science which is a shame. As such there’s nothing stand out in my memory for the last year. That’s not to say there was not good, even great, media coverage of the archosaurs at times, more I can’t point to anything I remember as being, well, very memorable.
SVPCA long time no see award
I got to catch up with a lot of people this year who I’d not seen for ages, most especially Don Henderson and Matt Carrano. A great year for renewing friendships and research plans.
The ‘about time’ award for slow publication
My own mutual sexual selection paper. First hinted at in a 2007 Flugsaurier abstract it’s taken 4 more full years to see the light of day, mostly down to horrible refereeing (the kind that was so bad other referees complained about it and the editor still accepted the criticism). Delighted it’s out, annoyed it was delayed by probably 2 full years by bad refereeing and editing.
Ridiculous prediction for 2012
Having gone for flying troodontids and feathered sauropods I might be starting to run out of mad, but just about plausible, concepts. However, in a couple of different places ‘flightless pterosaurs’ have recently come up again, so I’ll go with that.
And finally it’s been made quite clear to me that I’d better have an award ready for ‘best dinosaur biscuits’ after these came my way. So here it is.