Paleontologists Converge On Albuquerque On National Fossil Day With Keynote Speaker Steve Brusatte

Bisti Beast (Bistahieversor sealeyi) Skull. Courtesy/NMMNHS
Miocene Gomphotherium skull being prepared. Courtesy/NMMNHS
ALBUQUERQUE A world-class repository for fossils, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science’s latest exhibition Back to Bones: New Mexico’s Links to the Pastfeaturing rarely seen specimens from the permanent collection is on display to greet the 78th annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Oct. 17-20, in Albuquerque.
The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) is an international organization of scientists and other people interested in the study of fossils of animals with backbones (see There are approximately 2,300 members. The society’s annual meeting is held in the autumn, usually at a major city that has, or is near, a natural history museum. SVP last held its annual meeting in Albuquerque in 1993 (25 years ago).
The SVP convention starts on 2018 National Fossil Day (NED), celebrated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Oct. 17, 2018 during Earth Science Week, Oct. 14-20, 2018. National Fossil Day was established by the National Park Service (NPS) in response to the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act which requires federal land managing agencies to create programs that increase public awareness of the significance of paleontological resources. This annual event supports the BLM Education, Interpretation, and Youth Engagement National Strategy by fostering a greater appreciation of the scientific and educational value of fossils.
There will be National Fossil Day exhibits 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday Oct. 17, at the museum, with exhibits by the New Mexico Friends of Paleontology, SVP, National Park Service, and US Bureau of Land Management– Prehistoric Trackways National Monument.
Dr. Stephen Brusatte, author of the book “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs” and the SVP’s keynote speaker, will give a free public lecture at the Museum at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16. Doors open at 6 p.m. and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis until the capacity of the DynaTheater is reached.
Brusatte is an American paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, who specializes in the anatomy and evolution of dinosaurs. He is on the faculty of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and grew up in the Midwestern USA. Brusatte has traveled the world digging up dinosaurs, working with many international colleagues, and has named more than 15 new species, including the tyrannosaur ‘Pinocchio rex’ (Qianzhousaurus) and the raptor Zhenyuanlong. He has written several books for kids and adults, most notably the adult pop science book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs (2018), which was a New York Times bestseller in the USA, His work has appeared on several television shows, such as the National Geographic extravaganza T. rex Autopsy, where he was part of the team that dissected a scientifically accurate life-sized model of a T. rex.
A juried exhibition of paleoart Picturing the Past also is on display at the  NMMNHS through Jan. 4, 2019. Paleoart is scientifically informed artwork that reconstructs ancient life and prehistoric environments. These artists literally draw from the fossil record for their inspiration, using their knowledge of anatomy, evolution and inference to create lifelike renderings of creatures that went extinct millions of years ago.