The following month the PhD student on the project, Marcela Randau, published the first of her papers on the vertebral column of cats:
Cuff AR, Sparkes EL,Randau M, Pierce SE, Kitchener AR, Gosawmi A, Hutchinson JR, 2016. The scaling of postcranial muscles in cats (Felidae) II: hindlimb and lumbosacral muscles. Journal of Anatomy 229, 142-152. Paper link, blog
Also in April I joined Anjali (as well as Ryan and Carla from the lab) on another trip to Argentina where we joined up with our Argentinian colleagues for continued explorations of the Salta area looking for more fossils. It was a largely unproductive trip in terms of finding many new fossil locales, but we did rule out large areas, revisited the site I discovered previously and found another very promising site. Hopefully Anjali is successful with a large grant that would allow for a longer term exploration of the area with a bigger crew.
At the end of June and into early July I attended the International Congress of Vertebrate Mophology - ICVM. It was another fabulous conference with an abundance of cool science. It made up for not being able to make SVP this year, the first time I haven't attended in 6 years. In years gone by I've heard stories of the attendees who haven't missed on in 40+ years. Guess that won't be me!
The summer would lead to publishing my two most popular blog posts of all times, the first on why extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence (still surprised there haven't been many comments on it), and the second on some of my favourite figures from palaeontological papers. Both posts got over a thousand hits in their first month which no other posts before or since have matched.
Ultimately December would bring the start of my second postdoctorate on the ERC project (expect many, many posts over the next few years on it), as well as leaving the UK for a much needed 3 week break having not had time off since Easter and feeling exhausted from work.
Across the year I have been practicing what I preach in regards to reviewing papers, with 12 reviews completed for 5 papers across 6 journals (one I got for 2 different journals when it wasn't deemed suitable for the first journal). Somewhat crazily, I have accepted another review across the Christmas holidays, so will be reviewing another one early in 2017.
It has been another good year for me, although maybe not so much politically for science in the UK with Brexit threatening large amounts of funding and collaborations. It shall be interesting to see where things go and I live in the optimistic (and probably vain) hope that it is not the doom and gloom we all fear,
A final amazing figure for the year from an undergraduate research project at Leicester (and a great example of how to get students thinking about science at all levels). I have to say I have nothing to do with the research, but it is a fun studying into whether the satellite phone swallowed by the Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park 3 could really have been heard by the main characters.
|Childs et al., 2016. Dinosaur in-dial-gestion. Journal of Physics Special Topics.|
Fig 1. A rough model of the path travelled by the sound, with Z-values from the literature.