I have a brief moment of respite between field excursions so I’ll make this quick.
For years I have been wanting to publish a book on California’s fossil vertebrates. I feel there has never been a comprehensive source bringing all the information on California’s incredible prehistory into one place. The Golden State was once home to beardogs and sabercats; giant camels and pygmy mammoths; three-toed horses and hippo-like marine mammals; ground sloths and giant “toothed” seabirds; and killer sperm whales and and shovel-jawed elephants. And yet there are barely any books on the subject at all. As far as I can tell, there are only a couple gift shop books on Rancho la Brea and the Anza Borrego book. Hardly representative of all that California’s paleontology has to offer.
So I am to fix that. But I need your help. My book will be heavy on pictures and illustrations because I want to show the reader the fossils and creatures themselves. To do this, I’m going to need a good camera, other photography equipment (lighting, background, etc), and a new laptop to write and edit photos on. In all this stuff will run about $3500. And the great thing is once I have this stuff I’ll be able to use it for future books and even for my scientific research. This one act of generosity will go a long way.
So please donate to my book writing fund. Any amount would help me to reach my goal. I would greatly appreciate any help you can provide. The fossil vertebrates of California have an incredible story to tell. With your donation, you can help tell it with me.
I have always had an interest in ancient elephants. Ever since I first laid eyes on the woolly mammoth at the Royal British Columbia Museum, they have always held a spell on me. It has only been in recent years that they have drawn me in as a research interest. Despite being a diverse and very successful group with a broad array of adaptations, not a lot of work has been done on them outside of naming new species and studying their Ice Age members. However, the first serious research question I ever came up* with involves our old friend the American mastodon.
I had meant to do this sooner. In fact I meant to do it in real time during the event but the wi-fi at my crappy hole-in-the-wall motel didn’t work! And then stuff just kept piling up around here. But I was able to chip away at it enough during the week that I finally got it up. Let’s hope the two follow ups aren’t so tardy.
Last week was the first (and probably only, until i either land a job or get funding) time i was able to attend SVP, the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. It was fun, it was informative, it was exhausting! I saw some great talks, some great posters, and some not so great examples of either. Saw all the familiar faces, met some new ones, and got loads of advice and swag. It was a fantastic experience. It has left me a bit drained but not just physically. The conference has brought up a couple issues that no doubt stick in the Society’s craw.