Posts in Events & Talks
TetZooCon 2018

TetZooCon this year was a two day event that took place at UCL on the 6th and 7th October. Unfortunately, due to health reasons I was unable to attend the last day - though I did follow it on twitter using the hashtag #TetZooCon. If you’ve never heard of TetZooCon or Darren Naish’s famous Tetrapod Zoology blog (aka Tet Zoo), you are seriously missing out. TetZooCon is an annual meeting that features talks and workshops on topics explored in the Tet Zoo blog.

As herpetology is my main area of interest, it’s no surprise that I was very much looking forward to Mark O’Shea’s talk on his latest paper dealing with forensic historical herpetology and, of course, my good friend Steve Allain’s presentation about his upcoming PhD research on snake fungal disease. However, I have to say that I enjoyed all of it! TetZooCon 2018 seemed to have something for everyone, from Palaeoart Workshops to composer Fiona Taylor’s talk about music for wildlife documentaries, it’s fair to say that if you like animals in general, you’d have enjoyed it!

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Review: The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

This week, the Science Museum in London hosted an event featuring Andrea Wulf's latest book 'The Invention of Nature: The adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt - the lost hero of science'. The event was organised by the British Society for the History of Science and was presented in a conversation format between Wulf herself and Gaia Vince, the author of 'Adventures in the Anthropocene'.

Wulf started off by describing what motivated her to write about Humboldt. She briefly covered her travels to the same places he visited and her research into both his personal life and career goals. She discussed Humboldt's passion for nature and his then novel vision of nature as a living organism. She talked about his upbringing, personal connections and personality flaws. She reminded everyone of a man who viewed nature as a fragile ecosystem that could be easily destroyed by human actions. A man, who Wulf described as 'the bridge between the sciences and the arts'. 

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The Ford versus Naish Smackdown

How often have you read an article that takes a piece of scientific research, misinterprets the evidence presented and blows the results way out of proportion?  The titles of such articles tend to be the sensationalist types, using explosive statements that are guaranteed to get the general public's attention, aka 'click bait'.  This is pretty much what Ford's presentation sounded like - a bunch of decisive, explosive and sensationalist statements that in reality, meant absolutely nothing. 

On the 15th March, Conway Hall hosted what was supposed to be a debate between Brian J Ford and Dr Darren Naish.  Ford is about to publish a book in which he argues that all dinosaurs were, in fact, aquatic.  Yes, you read it right - ALL dinosaurs.  Now, to call it a debate would be generous.  That implies that both sides had well researched and founded arguments, which wasn't the case.  In fact, it felt very much like an argument between a sensible adult and a petulant child throwing a tantrum - which is ironic considering how many times Ford accused palaeontologists (in general) of being childish and simple-minded. 

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