Progressive Palaeontology 2019: Day Two

Article Written and Edited By: Adam Manning, Harry T. Jones, Jack Wood, J. D. Dixon, and Lewis Haller

For our final day of ProgPal19 coverage, we (and the volunteers mentioned in the last post) again worked in shifts on the desk to register/provide help to delegates.

Today there were numerous talks split into four sessions, comprising a variety of topics ranging from studies using foraminifera to vertebrate discoveries and classifications. Members of our team attended talks by Albert Chen, Amy Campbell, Bridget Warren, Emily Brown, Juan Benito Moreno, and Joseph Sutherland, just to name a few of the many wonderful presenters we watched.

Julian Kiely was selling some of his stunning palaeoart products throughout the day. Jack was also manning a stall to sell some of his own palaeoart postcard designs. Here, he got the chance to explain why he had illustrated certain animals the way he had and to talk to a few of the delegates about their work too.

Jack’s stall from the conference. Image by J. D. Dixon.

Adam assisted Nye Morris in hosting the LGBTQ+ meet-up today during lunch. Whilst only a few people were able to attend, they still had a lovely chat about what people were studying within palaeontology, as well as LGBTQ+ life in Birmingham. It was also great to see so many people wearing the Queerlobite badges designed by Martha Zaher during the event.

Delegates were given the opportunity to present posters in the Lapworth Museum which summarised their recent work. We talked to a few of the presenters about their research and each had unique and different topics to present. Hannah Bird told us about her work on unusual British tetrapod footprints, while Charlotte Bird has worked on Triassic cynodont brain morphology. Kim Keane had a poster relating to her work on the marine reptile fauna of Scotland. There were many well-designed and well-explained posters with equally engaging researchers presenting them. Many of the posters were unable to be posted on social media, but we’ve included images below of the three we have mentioned as these allowed media coverage.

Hannah Bird’s poster on Late Carboniferous and Early Permian tetrapod footprints from Great Britain. Image by J. D. Dixon.
Charlotte Bird’s poster on brain morphology and intraspecific variation in Thrinaxodon liorhinus. Image by J. D. Dixon.
Kim Keane’s poster on the Kimmeridgian marine reptile fauna of Helmsdale, Scotland. Image by J. D. Dixon.

We’d like to say congratulations to all of the award winners today. In case you missed it, awards were given in the following categories:

Highly commended posters: Miranta Kouvari (diversity of eutherian mammals) and Callum Kunz (biomechanics of kangaroos)

Best poster: Cecily Nicholl (evolution and biogeographic history of notosuchian crocodylomorphs)

Highly commended lightning talks: Kim Chandler (determinate growth and diphyodonty of Morganucodon) and Sophie Kendall (ontogenetic disparity in planktic foraminifera)

Best lightning talk: Emily Brown (endocranial anatomy and life habits of Proterosuchus fergusi)

Highly commended talks: Juan Benito Moreno (new Ichthyornis specimens) and Caitlin Lebel (Floridian Eocene-Oligocene foraminifera)

Best talk: Richie Howard (Facivermis yunnanicus)

Setting up and taking part in the auction was arguably one of our best experiences as palaeontology students, or at least, it was one of the most fun. The hosting by Daniel Cashmore, Andy Jones and Luke Meade was flawlessly comedic, with the three having a chemistry akin to a stand-up troupe. No matter the piece, ranging from a 3D printed holotype of the Dudley Bug to a children’s inflatable dinosaur, every item was sold thanks to their enthusiasm with each one. Members of our team pooled together and walked away with a beautiful canvas by Stephan Lautenschlager. Overall this was a brilliantly enjoyable and fitting end to the event.

Stephan’s canvas artwork depicting many dinosaurs roaming the university campus. Image by Lauren Malin.

We heard so many wonderful comments throughout the day from people having positive experiences of the ProgPal2019 event at our university, and we would like to thank everyone who attended for such an entertaining and insightful experience. Considering this was our team’s first time of helping to host such an event, this was much easier and calmer than we expected, with delegates being nothing but nice to us and our fellow volunteers. We would like to end our coverage of ProgPal2019 with a huge thank you to all of the university’s official committee members who worked tirelessly to make this incredible event possible: Luke Meade, Emma Dunne, Daniel Cashmore, Emma Hanson, Lisa Schnetz, Nicola Kirby, Struan Henderson, Marcelo de Lira Mota, Amy Jones, Fion Ma, and Juan Pablo Castañeda.