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TetZooCon 2014: last call!

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Are you interested in the evolution and diversity of tetrapods? In dinosaurs? Pterosaurs? Herpetology, mammalogy, wildlife photography, palaeoart? In speculative zoology, cryptozoology or arcane historical zoology? The answer is surely yes, and, seeing as it is, you very probably need to BOOK NOW for TetZooCon 2014, the world’s first-ever Tetrapod Zoology Convention. It’s being held on Saturday 12th July at the London Wetland Centre. For those of you outside the UK — hey, what’s a trans-oceanic or trans-continental flight between friends? Ha ha ha.

Some images that are going into my TetZooCon talk -- can you tell what I'll be talking about?

As you’ll know if you’ve been paying attention, our schedule is now online (for updates, follow us on twitter: I’m @TetZoo, co-organiser John Conway is @nyctopterus [yeah yeah, I know]). Seeing as this is the first TetZooCon ever, at least some of the speakers are Tet Zoo stalwarts – but that’s good, because they’ll give excellent talks on exciting, happening topics that you’ll just love hearing about, right? Paulo Viscardi (of Zygoma) will be talking about a newly discovered Feejee mermaid ‘species’, Carole Jahme (author of one of my favourite books: Jahme 2000) will be discussing Shakespeare’s Caliban, Helen Meredith of the Zoological Society of London will be exploring ‘What have amphibians ever done for us?’, Mark Witton – author of Pterosaurs (Witton 2013) – is speaking about the ‘post-Mesozoic evolution of azhdarchid pterosaurs’, Mike P. Taylor of SV-POW! is telling us ‘Why giraffes have short necks’ (his talk might mention sauropods), and Neil Phillips of the UK Wildlife Blog will be ‘In pursuit of British tetrapods’! Oh, and, there’s me – talking about the past, present and future of speculative zoology, or something like that (note: speculative zoology, not the huger, broader topic of speculative biology). For a sneak-peek of some of the stuff I’m covering, see the current issue of Fortean Times (Naish 2014).

One of Rebecca Groom's newest Palaeoplushies -- can you guess what it is? Buy one at TetZooCon!

There’s also a quiz (several Tet Zoo-themed prizes will be available), an interactive palaeoart workshop involving John as well as Mark Witton and Bob Nicholls, and Rebecca Groom’s palaeoplushies!

Needless to say, I really hope this works out – whatever happens will be discussed here after the event. Assuming it does work out, we’re planning that this becomes a regular event. Anyway – interested? Able to attend? If the answer to those questions is “yes”, please go to our booking site and book now! We really hope to see you there. Be sure to wear your t-shirts.

Ducks and crows, friends of TetZooCon, and sure to be involved! Yeah, sure, why not!

Refs – -

Jahme, C. 2000. Beauty and the Beasts: Woman, Ape and Evolution. Little, Brown and Company, London.

Naish, D. 2014. Speculative zoology. Fortean Times 316, 52-53.

Witton, M. P. 2013. Pterosaurs. Princeton University Press, Princeton & London.

Darren Naish About the Author: Darren Naish is a science writer, technical editor and palaeozoologist (affiliated with the University of Southampton, UK). He mostly works on Cretaceous dinosaurs and pterosaurs but has an avid interest in all things tetrapod. His publications can be downloaded at He has been blogging at Tetrapod Zoology since 2006. Check out the Tet Zoo podcast at! Follow on Twitter @TetZoo.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. irenedelse 6:15 am 06/26/2014

    Transcontinental flight? Some of us just have to hop on a train! ;-)

    I’ll be glad to be there.

    Link to this
  2. 2. naishd 6:19 am 06/26/2014

    Oh yes, trains! Awesome to hear you’re coming :)

    Link to this
  3. 3. Heteromeles 10:00 am 06/26/2014

    Hmmm. I wonder if you could pass the hat at the convention to fun putting some of the best talks on Tetzoo, for the mourning masses who can’t make it to England this year. Hope it all goes swimmingly.

    Link to this
  4. 4. irenedelse 2:40 pm 06/26/2014


    Well, living 5 minutes from the Eurostar station, I have it easier than some, at least.

    And I second the call for a online video. Plus it would make a great advertising material for the growing Tet Zoo media empire… :-)

    Link to this
  5. 5. naishd 2:51 pm 06/26/2014

    Thanks for comments – thoughts on streaming/online presence noted. This is something we’ve already discussed, but plans are not concrete yet.

    While I’m here.. those of you who don’t follow things on twitter might be interested to know of the enormous debate/argument that’s erupted over in the comments section of May’s article on ratite evolution. Go here to see what’s been happening over the past day or two… 169 comments so far. SciAm doesn’t provide a ‘most recent comment’ sidebar, so it’s impossible to be aware of events like this unless they’re pointed out for you…

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  6. 6. irenedelse 3:08 pm 06/26/2014

    Does the SciAm platform support RSS or Atom feeds for comments? Many people use a feeds reader for comments as well as blogs.

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  7. 7. ekocak 3:46 pm 06/26/2014

    I really wish I could attend. Stupid Atlantic Ocean.

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  8. 8. Heteromeles 4:22 pm 06/26/2014

    Vicariance, my dear ekocak. Vicariance.

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  9. 9. naishd 4:32 pm 06/26/2014

    Yeah, just time-travel yourself back to the Mesozoic when we’re all one pan-Laurasian gene pool. Easy! Oh, you might have to walk via Greenland, but it’s cheaper than flying.

    Link to this
  10. 10. irenedelse 6:09 pm 06/26/2014

    I pity any Australian readers, then, they have to time-travel back to Permian and cross the whole length of the Pangea!

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  11. 11. John Harshman 7:19 pm 06/26/2014

    I had no idea all that was going on. I admit that I do not understand the nature of the panbiogeographic hypothesis or what it’s supposed to explain.

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  12. 12. ekocak 8:55 pm 06/26/2014

    Well, I did it, but I think mistakes may have been made. We’re all descended from mammals now, rather than noble squamates.

    Link to this
  13. 13. Heteromeles 12:16 am 06/27/2014

    So what is this razor doing before me? Where is my shedding stick?

    Link to this
  14. 14. irenedelse 3:03 am 06/27/2014


    You took a wrong turn around the Carboniferous, I see. Try finding the shores of Panthalassa and retrace your steps.

    Link to this
  15. 15. Heteromeles 1:48 pm 06/27/2014

    Oops. Better hit the rewind button again. Fortunately, it’s summer, so there’s time for this kind of thing.

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  16. 16. Halbred 5:25 pm 06/27/2014

    I obviously can’t attend–being across the globe from TetZooCon, but I would like to know if I can buy that adorable plushie online somewhere.

    Link to this
  17. 17. irenedelse 8:15 pm 06/27/2014


    Try Rebecca Groome’s Etsy shop. Link is in the article. Very cool Microraptor btw. ;-)

    Link to this
  18. 18. DavidMarjanovic 8:23 pm 06/28/2014

    Video, please!

    Link to this
  19. 19. naishd 3:25 pm 06/29/2014

    Thanks for comments. Preparations are going well. Yes, we will definitely be recording (videoing) the talks – no live streaming after all – but we haven’t definitely decided on what’s happening to them afterwards.

    Rebecca Groom’s palaeoplushies: yes, as stated in the article at top you need to follow the link. Here it is again anyway.

    Our palaeoart workshop is now essentially planned. It will be an interactive, audience-participation event. I still have to prepare the quiz, as well as my own talk, yikes. And, after TetZooCon, I’m speaking at the World Science Fiction Convention…

    Link to this
  20. 20. Heteromeles 4:14 pm 06/29/2014

    Thanks for rubbing salt in the fact that I get to miss not one, but two great conventions this year. Life just gets that way sometimes.

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  21. 21. Heteromeles 4:14 pm 06/29/2014

    Hope it all goes well regardless of my grumbles. Break a leg.

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  22. 22. irenedelse 4:59 pm 06/29/2014


    With some luck, there won’t be a word about ratites…

    Link to this
  23. 23. Yodelling Cyclist 6:04 pm 06/29/2014

    ….but with luck, there will be Permian bears….

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  24. 24. irenedelse 6:55 pm 06/29/2014


    Gorgonopsids. It’s the same thing, right?

    Link to this
  25. 25. Heteromeles 7:40 pm 06/29/2014

    @Irenedelse: Did rats evolve from ratites, or was it the other way around? Never mind, they’re wonderful fun birds.

    Link to this
  26. 26. Yodelling Cyclist 8:30 pm 06/29/2014


    Not sure, how do ropen figure in all this?

    Link to this
  27. 27. irenedelse 12:41 pm 06/30/2014

    @ YC:

    The ropen got its wings by living on ephemeral volcanic islands that kept appearing and sinking on subduction arcs. It sorely needed to get its feet off the barely cooled lava…

    Link to this
  28. 28. Sebastian Marquez 2:55 am 07/1/2014

    So, I would like to say, if you’ll allow me some sentimentality, ever since I stumbled upon your very first article on phorushacids back in the day, I had hope to meet all the awesome commentators on this blog. I wish the convention well and lament that I cannot be there.

    I really like the fact that this latest kerfluffle with pseudoscience (panbiogeography or whatever you want to call it) was called out within 2 comments. And 200+ some comments late it was still semi cordial! I just want to say again how much I appreciate Tet Zoo Community. And I want a Sebecosuchia t-shirt.

    Link to this
  29. 29. Jerzy v. 3.0. 4:23 am 07/1/2014

    Sorry that I cannot join.

    But I hope you put lots of material online, full of interesting lectures, smiling faces, British theropods, giant bats from the future and stuff!

    BTW, did you know that sure way to defeat land candirus is to spray some pine-scented air freshener into one’s shoes, or to make a circle of mint-flavored toothpaste around the tent? Trust the expert.

    Link to this
  30. 30. irenedelse 7:20 am 07/1/2014


    That’s a good thing to know. And less wasteful than using vodka, as previous explorers tried to do…

    Re the conference: pics are guaranteed from me at least. If the Wetlands Center has WiFi, I’ll try and tweet them the same day.

    Link to this

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