SVP, you’re so silly.

Those chairs nearly killed me.

 The annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting wrapped up yesterday. This year we got to visit the very nice city of Raleigh, North Carolina. There were many, many interesting talks and posters which I can’t possibly cover in detail here, but I will look forward to the papers that will hopefully eventually come out of this meeting. SVP is the big-time serious palaeo conference for most of us here in North America…and yet, although at times the talks are SO SERIOUS, what I really like about SVP is how much fun everyone is having. And this brings me to the chairs. The chairs at the Raleigh Convention Centre seem to have built-in whoopie cushions. If you sat down too quickly, the result was unavoidable. (Raleigh Convention Centre: please don’t change this!) And so, during the transition between each talk as people moved in and out of the session, a low murmur of toots resonated throughout the room. This was pretty funny during the talks, but was almost unbearable during the final banquet and awards ceremony on Saturday night. As we recognized the contributions of various members of the SVP, we would rise to give standing ovations. And as about 1000 people sat down simultaneously, the squeaky chairs were that much more noticeable. 

Now, I don’t mean to go on and on about the chairs…but the thing was, as the awards ceremony went on, I’m pretty sure the majority of people in the room were making a conscious effort to make the chairs squeak more loudly. SVP, I love you even more for this.

I love that our society gets the conference started with a big party in a museum, this year the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. We got to hang out with Jane and Acrocanthosaurus!

Meatballs! In! Space!

I love that the SVP hosts a giant silent auction to raise funds for various society projects. And I love that so many people donate so generously, and that so many talented people make awesome stuff for the auction.

I love that my colleagues wear ALL THE PINS.

I love that the auction committee dresses up for the live auction. Avengersaurs, assemble!

I love that the conference ends with a giant dance party featuring “Walk the Dinosaur”, “I am a Palaeontologist”, and “Time Warp”. I love that so many of my colleagues are awesome dancers!

There’s a lot to love about SVP and palaeontology, but most importantly I love that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re passionate about our science, we’re doing awesome and interesting research, and we’re having fun. See you next year in Los Angeles!

(Also required reading: What do vertebrate paleontologists talk about?)

BREAKING UPDATE 22/10/2012: The squeaks have been recorded for posterity!

3 thoughts on “SVP, you’re so silly.

  1. Great article, and I can confirm that during the banquet many people were sitting down on the chairs hard in order to precipitate a toot. I did observe that Ballroom A seemed to have the highest proportion of farting chairs, although the research methodology was unscientific to say the least (we giggled more in between talks).


  2. Paleo congresses are the best! had the chance to attend the silent auction some time ago (thanks to one of your pin wearing colleagues ;)…so much fun!!I bid on some cool dino mugs!
    And I am not a paleontologist!!!


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