Tuesday Morning Notes

25 09 2007

So many papers, so little time… Thus far I’ve had a relatively busy start to the semester, especially in terms of having to prepare and give presentations. Every week I have to team up with another student from my Topics in African Prehistory class and present a summation of a few selected papers, and then there’s the new stuff coming out in the journals and what I need to read for my blog posts. Obviously schoolwork gets the priority (expect something about the Mt. Assirik chimpanzees tonight or tomorrow), but I am absolutely inundated by literature as of late.

I also will be giving my Darwin lecture this afternoon, which should be easy enough. I don’t know how much of an interest the students will show, but I’m sure the presentation will come off without any problems. I also want to start planning some talks for Darwin Day (it’s never early to start getting ready) in February, and I really wouldn’t mind being a TA or even teaching a course on evolution if I had the chance. For now, though, I’ll continue to take whatever I can get as far as making presentations, which reminds me I need to resume work on my human evolution review paper.

My trip to Haddonfield this past weekend was a bit of a bust, but I’m going to try to make it down to Big Brook this weekend (or the week after next) in the hopes of having some better luck. Shark teeth and bits of mosasaurs and plesiosaurs show up pretty frequently (Hadrosaurus and Dryptosaurus remains being rarer at the site), but even if I come up with nothing it’ll be a more productive adventure.

I’ve still got posts on juvenile sauropods and the history of Tyrannosaurus cooking, although both are going to require a lot of work and will probably have to wait until I have a weekend (or other time when I have 4-6 hours of free time to work). Even though such posts take a long time to construct, I do enjoy writing them up; I learn a lot more by trying to ingrate various resources to reveal the big picture and presenting it than just reading papers on my own. While such mega-posts have been relatively frequent as of late, I’ll try to keep up with new studies & stories as well, especially given the fact that not everyone has time to read through what I write.

In terms of books, things have slowed down a bit lately. Over the summer I was able to get through a new book every 2-3 days, but now it’s taking a bit longer. Still, I carry books with me everywhere and try to get through a few pages on the bus or before class, and I am definitely enjoying Adrian Desmond’s The Hot Blooded Dinosaurs. It’s a bit dated, but Desmond has an appreciation for the history of the debate as well as for the science, and it has plenty of illustrations to help drive home the points made in the book. I’ve really only started it so I can’t say much about the work as a whole, but the first two chapters were very enjoyable, even if I had heard the stories about Cuvier, Owen, Hawkins, mosasaurs, Iguanodon, etc. a thousand times over.

For now I need to finish up getting ready for the lecture, however, but (as I stated above) I should have something up on chimpanzees that use tools and live near open habitats later this evening.




3 responses

25 09 2007
Chris Harrison

Good luck with this afternoon’s lecture Brian. I hope it’s better than the ones my Bio prof. has been shelling out lately.

I’m about to stop going to that class since I already know the material, but mainly because she is embarrassingly bad. Did you know Stephen Gould was an arrogant paleontologist that attacked Darwin’s ideas?!?
I’m not entirely sure, but I think I saw a tiny image of Haeckel’s embryos briefly flash by on one power point slide as well. I wish I was teaching this part of the course…

Anyway, I’m sure you’ll do a good job, and I’ll be back later this evening to hopefully read your report.

26 09 2007

I’m just amazed that you do all this and still have time to post INCREDIBLY involved and intelligent material. I’m really impressed by your site here…and equally impressed with your writing.

Thanks for the good readin’!

27 09 2007

Thank you for the kind words, Amanda. I actually saw the links from your blog and I’m quite impressed by it as well. I generally find time in bits and pieces these days, putting together information when I can and then going over it again in an attempt to make it coherent. I still have a lot of material on the way and lots of information I’d like to cover, so you can expect me to keep going indefinitely.

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