Monday, June 11, 2018

ProgPal 2018

I said last year that I intended to attend ProgPal again, and I did. This year the conference was held in Manchester and the icebreaker took place at the Manchester Museum. Here is their cast of the Tyrannosaurus specimen "Stan".

Though I would have liked to explore the museum more than I did, the fact that my digital camera happened to be under repair made me less inclined to take photos than usual. In addition, I ended up being too caught up in conversation to check out most of the exhibits. Thanks to Callum McLean for ensuring that I didn't miss the museum's maniraptor specimens such as this Confuciusornis!

There were also casts of several bones from Hesperornis.

Being more familiar with the conference logistics and knowing more people this time around, the whole conference honestly feels like a blur. (Given that ProgPal lasts for only three days with the main bulk of events packed into a single day, this may well be the way it's supposed to feel!) I still had lots of fun and got to meet many new faces.

The newly expanded University of Bath paleo-contingent was well represented, with nearly all other paleontology grad students in my year not only attending the conference but also presenting their research. Unlike last year, I gave a talk of my own about my ongoing work. I won't say much about it here until it's published, but responses were, dare I say, overwhelmingly positive.

My title slide.

Institutional loyalties aside, a selection of presentations that I thought were highlights include:
  • Orla Bath Enright's talk on Burgess Shale taphonomy
  • Robert Brocklehurst's talk on convergence between afrosoricidans and lipotyphlans
  • Alessandro Chiarenza's talk on dinosaur diversity prior to the K-Pg
  • Christopher Stockey's talk on an assemblage-level reconstruction of color patterns in fish from the Bolca Lagerst√§tte
  • Nuria Melisa Morales Garcia's poster on a new approach to studying Triassic mammaliaform jaw biomechanics

ProgPal remains a fantastic opportunity for paleontology students to hone their skills and network with future colleagues.