It’s getting harder and harder for me to write these sadly, with my ever increasing teaching loads, and broader than ever outreach commitments, I don’t have much time to read as many blog pieces and media coverage as I used to, and a look though a few end-of-year reviews suggests there’s a few discoveries and papers I’d missed which is rather annoying. Still, it is good to at least try and look back over the last year and give a bit of a personal perspective and try and have a bit of fun.
Most important new archosaur discovery
I can’t think of any really outstanding candidates this year, thought there has been plenty of interesting finds (Europelta, Nasutoceratops, Vectidraco, Siats, more Deinocheirus) there is nothing that leaps out to me as really special. The obvious candidate is the apparently filamented ornithischian that failed to make an appearance at SVP, but that hardly counts when there’s not even a presentation out there, let alone a paper.
Best newly discovered archosaur specimen
Aurornis is clearly lovely, but I’ll go for Jianchangosaurus – a cracking specimen and one I’d love to see in the flesh.
Best named new archosaur
As ever, this and the next few and extremely subjective and subject to whimsy, so please don’t whinge about my choices because you’re not happy with the incorrect use of Latin subjunctive etc. This was a good year for names – Radiodactylus, Vectidraco, Siats, and Nasutoceratops were all candidates, but I have to say I really love Lythronax. Sounds great, and has a wonderful and memorable translation.
Worst named new archosaur
Wulatelong. Even though I am an author on the paper, I had nothing to do with this name, honest. It just sounds so awkward on the ears and the syllables are so separate it comes over as three different names before you hit the end of the genus.
The ‘Similicaudipteryx’ award for lest original archosaur name
Yes, there’s a lot of dinosaurs to be named, and no, they can’t all translate wonderfully and be evocative or interesting or meaningful and so on, but I’d hope for better for a Brazilian titanosaur than Brasilotitan.
Most egregious media error on archosaurs
I got rather horribly misquoted on pterosaurs this year, despite making some quite plain statements and emphasising key points repeatedly, which is always a frustration. It’s hard to know quite how people can get things so wrong no matter how careful you are and implies they don’t know any better (which is worrying coming from a professional journalist) or don’t care (which is also worrying coming from a professional journalist). Not the most major of issues, but in the circumstances (time, planning, checking and rechecking) certainly egregious.
Best media report
I’ve read so little in the last year that sadly I really can think of nothing to say at this point. All I can do is point to the usual suspects who continue to do good work and honest, accurate write-ups.
Long time no see award
For all the collaborations I have enjoyed with Corwin Sullivan over the years, (and there are plenty more to come) he’s hardly been out of China for the last couple of years, and I’ve not been there, so it was great to catch up with him this summer and make some progress on papers on a pterosaur specimen, tyrannosaur material from Zhucheng, and some other theropod bits and bobs.
The ‘about time’ award for slow publication
That bloody pterosaur book. Again. At least now the Burpee tyrannosaur volume is out, but now we’re waiting on the second tyrannosaur volume and sadly the new hadrosaur one has been held back by the publishers.
Ridiculous prediction for 2014
A complete and articulated set of pachycephalosaurs. These animals get ever more interesting, but the material is collectively so limited, despite them appearing in beds that have been well studied and searched and are very productive. A nice solid group of a dozen or so individuals would be an absolute treasure trove on this group. Here’s hoping.