I arrived in Pittsburgh late afternoon Saturday October 9th. The weather was great and after finding my way to the baggage area I only had a short wait till I met with Ken and his wife Yvonne. They rented a car. Yvonne is a native of Pittsburgh so she was the designated driver.
Pittsburgh is located among hills, covered with lush vegetation. Yvonne was happy to be back and she pointed out to me the beautiful vegetation. I mentioned to her that the vegetation was covering all the cool fossils.
Thanks to Yvonne’s knowledge of the road system we arrived at the hotel and settled in for the duration of our stay. The hotel was a short walk from the convention center. I enjoyed my short walks and by varying my route a little I was able to see a little more of the area. My second day I notice this walkway flanked by water falls on each side. It is the entrance way to the soon to be completed waterfront park along the bank of the Allegheny River. (Unlike the psudo rivers we have in Utah, Pittsburgh has real rivers.)
Sunday Evening was the “Welcome Reception” at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Yvonne worked at the museum a few years ago and her and Ken coauthored a paper on a camptosaur from the Carnegie collections.
At the entrance to the dinosaur display is a very nice prep lab visible through large glass windows. In the dinosaur hall, I enjoyed the “action posed” mounts set in dioramas. The mounts were actual fossilized bone, with each individual bone cradled in its own individual section of the armature.
Another area I enjoyed was the Mineral displays.
Most of my time during my stay was spent listening to talks and checking out the posters. After being in my own little world most of the time, it is refreshing to see what others are doing and how modern technology is being used to learn more about the past. I was also able to meet a few new people and visit with friends I have not seen for a while.
At the preparators symposium were several good presentations, one I found informative was on how to create permanent jackets (I call them cradles) to support the fossils during storage and enable researchers to study the fossils too. The jackets were designed so a researcher could remove the top section of the jacket and when needed the top could be replaced and then the jacket turned over and the other side of the jacket could be removed. This design gave support to the fossil at all times while giving access for study.
At one of the other sessions a paper was presented on determining the color of fossil feathers. Colors apparently have textures that can be seen under an electron microscope, each color a different texture that can be preserved in the fossil. The exception is iridescent colors. They do not have a distinctive texture, probably because they are several colors.
As with all good times it came to an end. I did not see all I would have liked, maybe someday I will be able to return.