Wednesday 31 July 2013

Pterosaurs: The Natural History Museum Talk, September 2013

HyPtA D does the NHM logo. What's a HyPtA D? You need to buy Pterosaurs to find out, or attend the Pterosaurs NHM event in September. HyPta D image from Witton (2013); NHM logo borrowed from here.
Those of you with long-term memories may recall that, this September 10th (2013), the critically-acclaimed tome Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy is being celebrated with a public lecture at none other than the Natural History Museum, London. Details of the event have now crystalised and been made public over at the NHM's website. The talk will take place at 19:00-20:00 in the Neil Chalmers Seminar Room and cover all things pterosaurian: our changing understanding of these animals since their discovery, current ideas on many aspects of their palaeobiology, lots of palaeoart and photographs of specimens and, no doubt, some over-the-top PowerPoint animations which I'll spend hours tweaking for no obvious benefit. I'll do my best to keep to time (I have an excellent track record for punchy, concise talks, honest) so I can field questions at the end of the talk.

Note that the event is for NHM Members Only, will cost £5.50 per ticket, and booking is required. Details about membership with the NHM can be found here, and further information on the event and NHM memberships are available from your telephone, at +44(0)20 7942 5792.

I'm already looking forward to this, and hope to see many of you there.

UPDATE: I've just realised that the NHM's Lorna Steel, a pterosaur worker herself, is giving a behind the scenes tour of the NHM's extensive pterosaur collections on the same day as this talk (10/09/13) for NHM members, also for a mere £5.50. It seems that, if pterosaurs are your thing and you're an NHM member, you'll really want to be in London on the 10th of September.


  • Witton, M. P. 2013. Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy. Princeton University Press.


  1. Mike from Ottawa1 August 2013 at 07:59

    Any plans to have your talk videoed so them of us as can't make it can watch?

    Curse the opening of the Atlantic!

    1. I have been wondering about recording a version of it to post online. Maybe just a narrated PowerPoint rather than a video of the talk, or something like that.

    2. Mike from Ottawa2 August 2013 at 17:08

      I'd suggest recording the talk, video or audio and separately making the slides available separately. I suspect the talk itself would be more lively than a narration for one. And separating slides and narration lets people flip among the slides to suit themselves at different points in the talk. If you watch people who are attending a meeting where there are slides and they are given printed copies (or have them on a laptop) you see people flipping back and forth out of sync with the speaker. Sometimes it's because the speaker isn't adding anything worthwhile to the info on the slides (I doubt you'd have that problem) but it's also people going back to refresh their recollection which helps them understand what the speaker is now saying or flipping back to something they now have more info on and can understand better than when they first saw the slide.

      Of course, other people's time is always infinitely expandable. :-)

      I'd be happy with any version.

    3. I have wondered if the straightforward approach - chap with video camera in audience - is the way forward. As you say, it will capture the event properly, instead of making a dry digital lecture. I probably won't be making the slides freely available, though. Call my paranoid/controlling/micromanaging, but I try to keep some control over when and where I release images. Because this talk will be image heavy, putting them all online, even in a pdf or low-res powerpoint format, puts a spanner in the works for that. It would leaves me with very little new content to post here, or to 'surprise' most people with for PR work.

    4. Mike from Ottawa3 August 2013 at 08:49

      "Call my paranoid/controlling/micromanaging" - I'd call you sensible. I'd been thinking in terms of stuff you'd already done and released being asembled into talk form. My apologies for underestimating your work rate. :-)

      Much more fun to have new images form the kernels of posts here or elsewhere over time. And recalling your clips with the BBC on building the giant azhdarchids, the video'd talk will be way better than a digital lecture. One of the things that's great about the abililty to experience talks or things like the TetZoo podcasts is to see some of the passion and fun that scientists find in their work and that comes through better live than in any written form (though the lively writing in Pterosaurs does a better job there than any I've seen before).