Off to my first paleontology meeting, in Utah!

My final conference trip of the year, this time to a paleontology meeting!  I leave on wednesday (arriving a day late, sadly).

I will be speaking about our paper published earlier this year on reproductive endothermy in tegu lizards, in a symposium organised by Colleen Farmer, Jennifer Botha-Brink, and Adam Huttenlocker, entitled “Recent Advances in Understanding the Origins and Evolution of Tetrapod Endothermy”

I’m looking forward to interacting with a group of paleontologists and hope they don’t mind hearing about some research on an extant animal!

For those interested, the title of my talk:

“Facultative thermogenesis in tegu lizards provides metabolic support for the parental care model of endothermy”



Here is the symposium information:

Recent Advances in Understanding the Origins and Evolution of Tetrapod Endothermy
Co-convenors: Colleen G. Farmer, Jennifer Botha-Brink, and Adam K. Huttenlocker

Endothermy, the ability to use metabolically generated heat to regulate internal body temperature above ambient, represents a key innovation driving mammalian and avian evolution, allowing them to shorten the time between conception and sexual maturity, and to exploit new habitats and resources not accessible to ectotherms. Because of this, understanding the evolutionary origins of endothermy has become a central question in vertebrate paleobiology and evolutionary physiology. Many physiologic adaptations that either promote or were a consequence of endothermy are shared between mammals and birds, but major questions surround their origins and early evolution: What fossilizable markers of endothermy are accessible to paleontologists? What were the selective agents that have driven this novel thermoregulatory physiology? What were the paleobiological and ecological contexts for its origins? When and how many times did endothermy evolve? In recent years, new information from non-mammalian synapsids and archosaurs has begun to reshape our views of their paleophysiology, including their capacities for fast growth, cardiopulmonary physiology, and insulation and thermoregulation. The growing body of new data makes this a timely topic that will throw into sharp relief what is and isn’t known, and will promote cross-pollination of research in light of the vertebrate fossil record.

This symposium will feature interdisciplinary research that exemplifies the diversity of new studies that shed light on the origins and early evolution of tetrapod endothermy. Symposium contributors will consist of an international list of scientists who employ a variety of tools to pinpoint the functional correlates of endothermy and their evolutionary origins in synapsids, archosaurs, and other tetrapod groups. Presentations will therefore span taxonomic boundaries, and will appeal to attendees actively researching paleophysiology in extinct tetrapods and to those interested in all aspects of vertebrate paleobiology. Major topics will include a variety of techniques and study systems, including (1) bone histological applications, (2) functional morphology, (3) metabolic scaling, (4) micro-computed tomographic techniques, and (5) clumped isotope paleothermometry. In light of the rapid changes in the field, this symposium will generate broad interest across multiple disciplines, as well as in the lay community, and will guide future research.