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I went to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 2010 conference last weekend. For a non-major, a lot of the presentations were over my head, but with a few science classes I think I would understand more. My classes in Latin actually helped as well. I received a packet of the names of the presentations and presenters and much of it was "heterochrony" this and "cetacea" that.

I was able to decipher that "heterochrony" had to do with growth/change of an animal over time, and "cetacea" was about the ocean.

The presentations were only 15 minutes and, despite the pace and jargon, I actually learned a lot. My favorite presentation was "Triceratops: A Model Organism for Deciphering Dinosaur Heterochrony" in which I learned more about the idea that the Torosaurus and Triceratops are actually the same animal.

You may remember this debate: Triceratops Never Existed. Well the man that did the research, J. Scannella, backed up his claim with a presentation that even I could understand. For those not interested in the science aspect, there were also many sessions on how to clean and prepare fossils with the latest tools as well as new and innovative ways of mapping difficult specimens (aka mummy versions).

If you don't want to attend sessions, there is a seller's room where books, tools, and fossils are on sale. No money? There were rows of posters for those who did not present on their research or education experience. I found a lot of posters on reaching out to children and exploring the dinosaur world of science, something not many children get to do, something my capstone really reflects.

I took down a few names and even received a response from Beth Mowry, an educator who took her students to the Big Horn Basic Foundation (the people I worked with). She invited me to lunch for a discussion, but sadly I was out-of-town. I plan to stay in contact and learn what I can from her, about her experience and the children's, and what I can do to help.

I also plan to contact those presenters whose sessions I could not attend. There were so many going on at the same time that I had to chose.

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