Final Call For TetZooCon 2019

It’s time to remind you once more that TetZooCon 2019 – the sixth Tetrapod Zoology Convention – is happening on the 19th and 20th October, and this is essentially your last chance to book a place*, should you wish to come along. TetZooCon 2019 is, as per the last two years, happening at The Venue, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London, a difference for this year being that we’re on a different floor from previous meetings and have more rooms in addition to the main hall.

* We don’t send out paper tickets; your name is added to a list.

Scenes from TetZooCon 2018, our biggest and best meeting so far. The 2019 meeting is shaping up to be bigger and better. To those not attending, watch #TetZooCon for live coverage. Image: JCTArtStudio/Jed Taylor.

Scenes from TetZooCon 2018, our biggest and best meeting so far. The 2019 meeting is shaping up to be bigger and better. To those not attending, watch #TetZooCon for live coverage. Image: JCTArtStudio/Jed Taylor.

If you’re seriously interested in prehistoric animals and their evolution, biology and behaviour, in palaeoart and in artistic depictions of animals in general, in the anatomy, ecology, behaviour and biology of such animals as swans, eagles, whales and amphibians, in human-wildlife interactions, in conservation biology, and in natural history film-making, you really should come along. Our talks and on-stage events this year are on a diverse range of tetrapod-themed subjects, but there’s a block on natural history film-making – featuring a range of very talented people from the BBC’s famous Natural History Unit – and another on the palaeobiology of extinct dinosaurs.

I went over to Instagram and…. here’s proof that things are really coming along with respect to merchandise for TetZooCon 2019. These are Rebecca Groom’s palaeoplushies. In previous years, they’ve all sold out within the first few hours of the meeting! Images: Rebecca Groom/palaeoplushies.

I went over to Instagram and…. here’s proof that things are really coming along with respect to merchandise for TetZooCon 2019. These are Rebecca Groom’s palaeoplushies. In previous years, they’ve all sold out within the first few hours of the meeting! Images: Rebecca Groom/palaeoplushies.

Jed Taylor is going to knock it out of the park this year, his stuff looks incredible. Here’s a shot of some of his merchandise. Image: JCTArtStudio/Jed Taylor.

Jed Taylor is going to knock it out of the park this year, his stuff looks incredible. Here’s a shot of some of his merchandise. Image: JCTArtStudio/Jed Taylor.

As per usual, there’s a special palaeoart event led by John Conway (and running in parallel to part of the main event, sorry about that). This includes several talks by palaeoartists, the main theme of this year’s talks being the 3D construction of models. And – breaking news – it now looks like we’re hosting a big, dedicated palaeoart exhibition as well, featuring art by some of the UK’s leading palaeoartists. It should be hosted in its own special room.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the screening of  Walking With Dinosaurs , so it’s especially fitting that Tim Haines - at far right in this image, with your humble blog-author - will be speaking at TetZooCon.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the screening of Walking With Dinosaurs, so it’s especially fitting that Tim Haines - at far right in this image, with your humble blog-author - will be speaking at TetZooCon.

Merchandise, stalls, book signings and palaeoart wares are also a standard part of TetZooCon. Book signings this year include those devoted to Dave Hone’s The Tyrannosaur Chronicles, Jack Ashby’s Animal Kingdom: A Natural History in 100 Objects, Joschua Knüppe’s Palaeostream book, Luis Rey’s Extreme Dinosaurs Part 2: the Projects and Ross Barnett’s The Missing Lynx. Dougal Dixon’s After Man will also be on sale, and I’m pleased to say that Dougal himself will be in attendance on the Saturday.

Luis Rey’s brand-new book will be on sale at TetZooCon 2019. Image: (c) Luis Rey/Darren Naish.

Luis Rey’s brand-new book will be on sale at TetZooCon 2019. Image: (c) Luis Rey/Darren Naish.

TetZooCon ends with a quiz and a post-conference meal.

So that’s that, we look forward to seeing you in London in late October. For the first time, attendees can choose to buy a booking for one day only; there isn’t one flat fee for the whole event. The booking site includes more information, a list of speakers, and a draft timetable. If you’re on Twitter and/or Instagram, follow events at #TetZooCon. See you there!

For previous articles on TetZooCon meetings, see…

Announcing TetZooCon 2019 – the Biggest Yet

At last, tickets for TetZooCon 2019 are on sale. And you’re advised to buy one, and thus book a place, as soon as possible, since they’re selling pretty fast. This is the sixth TetZooCon, and we’re now in bigger, badder, faster, harder mode with two whole days of TetZoo-related stuff.

This year’s banner includes just some of the birds I’ve drawn for my in-prep textbook… but let’s not talk about that today.

This year’s banner includes just some of the birds I’ve drawn for my in-prep textbook… but let’s not talk about that today.

As per the last two years, we’re once again at The Venue at Malet Street in central London on a weekend (Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October). Things kick off at 10am both days. We have numerous talks but the schedule has been arranged this year such that – hopefully – there’s time for Q&A sessions, and also more time for roundtable events and other discussions, since they worked well at the 2018 meeting.

Beautiful  Megaloceros  model made by Agata Stachowiak. You might recognise the colour scheme if you’re a regular TetZoo reader. Image: (c) Agata Stachowiak, used with permission.

Beautiful Megaloceros model made by Agata Stachowiak. You might recognise the colour scheme if you’re a regular TetZoo reader. Image: (c) Agata Stachowiak, used with permission.

Palaeoart. Once again we’re running a dedicated palaeoart event which involves short talks (this time mostly revolving around the theme of making things in 3D: Rebecca Groom, Agata Stachowiak, Jed Taylor; Joschua Knüppe is speaking too), a discussion (led by Beth Windle) and a workshop. The palaeoart event runs in parallel to one of the main sessions: not ideal, but we can’t otherwise fit everything in. You have to pay separately for the palaeoart event if you intend to come along (I mean, in addition to the main entry fee). There will also be – we hope; none of this is confirmed and finalised yet – two palaeoart-themed exhibitions. Also, both Luis Rey and Mark Witton will be selling and signing palaeoart-themed books. I believe that Luis’s new book will be out in time, fingers crossed! Hey, that’s a lot of palaeoart-themed stuff.

Just two of our several palaeoart presenters for TetZooCon 2019, both - coincidentally - holding dromaeosaurids. Jed Taylor (of   JCTArtStudio  ) at left; Rebecca Groom (of   palaeoplushies  ) at right. Images: (c) JCTaylor, Rebecca Groom, used with permission.

Just two of our several palaeoart presenters for TetZooCon 2019, both - coincidentally - holding dromaeosaurids. Jed Taylor (of JCTArtStudio) at left; Rebecca Groom (of palaeoplushies) at right. Images: (c) JCTaylor, Rebecca Groom, used with permission.

Dinosaurs and other extinct archosaurs. One major theme this year is Mesozoic dinosaurs and kin, because why not. We have a block of talks on dinosaur palaeobiology (Rebecca Lakin on parental care, Chris Barker on pathologies in theropods, Dave Hone on social behaviour), as well as Jordan Bestwick on his work on inferring diet from tooth microwear analysis, recently published in Scientific Reports. There’s also a roundtable discussion on extinct archosaur palaeobiology as a whole. Dave Hone will be selling and signing his The Tyrannosaur Chronicles as part of this event.

Dr David Hone will be speaking at TetZooCon 2019, and signing his book  The Tyrannosaur Chronicles . Image: (c) David Hone, used with permission.

Dr David Hone will be speaking at TetZooCon 2019, and signing his book The Tyrannosaur Chronicles. Image: (c) David Hone, used with permission.

Natural History Film-Making. A second theme involves film-making. I don’t so much mean the nuts and bolts of how one actually goes about ‘making’ a film, but the entire experience, the backstories to the people involved, and their various projects and adventures. Amber Eames will be talking about her award-winning film Swans: Mystery of the Missing, and we’ll be joined in an on-stage discussion by Paul Stewart (who’s filmed a vast number of mammals, birds and other animals worldwide, including a huge number of things featured in the BBC Attenborough documentaries), Nick Lyon (best known for the BBC Dynasties episode on African wild dogs), and Zoe Cousins (who’s worked on documentaries about the Tapanuli orangutan, urban wildlife and more). We’re hoping to show film segments and montages as part of this event.

Amber Eames will be talking about her film devoted to the plight of migratory Bewick’s swans. Images: (c) Amber Eames, used with permission.

Amber Eames will be talking about her film devoted to the plight of migratory Bewick’s swans. Images: (c) Amber Eames, used with permission.

Wildlife film-maker, producer, author and qualified zoologist Dr Paul Stewart (in the middle; here with Sir David Attenborough and other team members) will be at TetZooCon 2019. Image: (c) Paul Stewart, used with permission.

Wildlife film-maker, producer, author and qualified zoologist Dr Paul Stewart (in the middle; here with Sir David Attenborough and other team members) will be at TetZooCon 2019. Image: (c) Paul Stewart, used with permission.

Other talks, other events. And there’s tons more as well. TetZooCon 2019 also includes Ellen Coombs on whales, Amy Schwartz on her work on roadkill, Lauren McGough on eagles and adventures in falconry, Tim Haines on ‘20 years of popular digital palaeontology’, Ross Barnett on The Missing Lynx (another book signing), Jack Ashby on Unnatural History Museums (another book signing)…. and more! There will also be stalls and merchandise, we end with a quiz (with great prizes), and there’s a conference meal and a drinks reception too.

One of our many star speakers for 2019: the amazing Lauren McGough. Image: (c) Lauren McGough, used with permission.

One of our many star speakers for 2019: the amazing Lauren McGough. Image: (c) Lauren McGough, used with permission.

As per last year, it’s likely that we’ll be sold out by the early weeks of October, so don’t leave things too late if you’re planning to come along. We’ve also changed the ticket sales so that you can pay for attendance on just one day. And that’ll do for now. Go here to book (and see more information), and see you there in October!

TetZooCon-2019-speaker-montage-17-8-2019-1000px-tiny.jpg

Reasons to Attend TetZooCon 2018

The end of September is approaching, which means we’re getting worryingly close to the start of October and hence to the TetZoo-themed event of the year: TetZooCon, this year happening on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October (at The Venue, Malet Street, London).

Our 2018 banner. It incorporates illustrations produced by participants in the palaeoart workshop of 2017 and looks pretty neat.

Our 2018 banner. It incorporates illustrations produced by participants in the palaeoart workshop of 2017 and looks pretty neat.

If you want to come along but haven’t yet bought a ticket, you’d better hurry up and do so, since time’s nearly up and we have to stop selling soon. Go here if you’re interested. This article is essentially a last call, and also a reminder of how much awesome stuff we have happening this year. It’s by far the biggest TetZooCon yet. So…

My god, we have some amazing merchandise on sale this year (read on for more). Once again, Rebecca Groom will be selling her palaeoplushies — last year, the WHOLE LOT sold out before lunch. Image: (c) Rebecca Groom/palaeoplushies.

My god, we have some amazing merchandise on sale this year (read on for more). Once again, Rebecca Groom will be selling her palaeoplushies — last year, the WHOLE LOT sold out before lunch. Image: (c) Rebecca Groom/palaeoplushies.

Aron Ra – best known for his work as an atheist activist and his countering of creationists and other anti-science types – is joining us to talk about his Phylogeny Explorer Project. Aron has a vast international following and it’s a real coup to get him as a speaker.

Two of many TetZooCon 2018 speakers. Left: Ian Redmond; right: Aron Ra. Images: (c) Ian Redmond, (c) Aron Ra.

Two of many TetZooCon 2018 speakers. Left: Ian Redmond; right: Aron Ra. Images: (c) Ian Redmond, (c) Aron Ra.

Ian Redmond – conservationist, primate and elephant expert, famous for his association with Dian Fossey, David Attenborough and the Rwandan gorillas – is speaking about his contributions to conservation and education. His talk is titled ‘The Reluctant Conservationist, 40 Years On: From Gorilla Parasites and Poachers to Virtual Safaris’.

We have an entire section of talks devoted to bird evolution – covering fossil history and phylogeny, the distribution and diversity of modern birds, and how birds are adapting to the human world – as well as a roundtable discussion on the same subject. Speakers and panellists are Robyn Womack, Albert Chen, Caitlin Kight, Hanneke Meijer and Glyn Young.

This image has no special relevance to any of the TetZooCon bird talks, but here it is anyway. It’s a (now somewhat dated) bird phylogeny, produced for my 2014 paper on bird palaeobehaviour ( available here ). Image: Darren Naish.

This image has no special relevance to any of the TetZooCon bird talks, but here it is anyway. It’s a (now somewhat dated) bird phylogeny, produced for my 2014 paper on bird palaeobehaviour (available here). Image: Darren Naish.

Katrina van Grouw is talking about her amazing new book Unnatural Selection and the work behind it; Katrina will also be selling and signing copies of the book, and copies of her previous work The Unfeathered Bird too. Unnatural Selection is about the themes and patterns of evolution as revealed through the variation we’ve discovered via the selective breeding of domestic animals, not about domestic animals per se, and it’s a phenomenal tour de force that I cannot recommend highly enough. Some previous comments on the book can be found here.

Katrina van Grouw (with duck), and the cover of her amazing 2018 book  Unnatural Selection  (to be reviewed here, hopefully soon). Images: (c) Katrina van Grouw.

Katrina van Grouw (with duck), and the cover of her amazing 2018 book Unnatural Selection (to be reviewed here, hopefully soon). Images: (c) Katrina van Grouw.

On Sunday, we have an on-stage discussion about Speculative Biology involving Gert van Dijk (of Furahan Biology and Allied Matters) and Dougal Dixon (After Man, The New Dinosaurs, Green World, The Future is Wild etc). Both will be discussing their own projects, their thoughts on SpecBio in general, and the past, present and future of the movement. Dougal will also be signing copies of the new edition of After Man and is also bringing along archive material relevant to some of his projects: I hope it will include some of the pieces brought to the recent After Man event at Conway Hall, but there will be other stuff too…

A SpecBio montage relevant to TetZooCon 2018. At left: the Vortex from Dougal Dixon’s 1981  After Man . At right: Gert van Dijk, here photographed at the LonCon 72nd World Science Fiction Convention in 2014. Images: Dixon 1981, Darren Naish.

A SpecBio montage relevant to TetZooCon 2018. At left: the Vortex from Dougal Dixon’s 1981 After Man. At right: Gert van Dijk, here photographed at the LonCon 72nd World Science Fiction Convention in 2014. Images: Dixon 1981, Darren Naish.

World famous distinguished herpetologist and author Mark O’Shea joins us to talk about a detective story concerning the snakes of New Guinea and is also selling and signing copies of his brand-new, 656-page The Book of Snakes. Mark is also showing a short movie about reptiles. I’ve long hoped to have Mark as a TetZooCon speaker so am thrilled to have him with us this year.

We have Professor Mark O’Shea! Mark will be selling and signing his new book. Images: (c) Mark O’Shea.

We have Professor Mark O’Shea! Mark will be selling and signing his new book. Images: (c) Mark O’Shea.

Film-maker, zoologist and author Lucy Cooke is also with us, and will be speaking about her neat 2018 book The Truth About Animals (originally titled The Unexpected Truth About Animals), which she’ll also be selling and signing. I must remember to ask her if she any copies of her previous book, A Little Book of Sloth, because who doesn’t like books on sloths?

Lucy Cooke and equine friends, and the cover of her 2018 book  The Truth About Animals  (which I’m planning to review here later this year). Images: (c) Lucy Cooke, Darren Naish.

Lucy Cooke and equine friends, and the cover of her 2018 book The Truth About Animals (which I’m planning to review here later this year). Images: (c) Lucy Cooke, Darren Naish.

As per usual, John Conway is leading our Palaeoart Workshop: an interactive event in which – no doubt – something great is planned, I’m sure. The workshop occurs in parallel to some of the talks in a separate room. John is joined by Bob Nicholls, Mark Witton, Luis Rey and Steve White; Mark, Luis and Steve will be giving talks on (variously) the future of palaeoart (Mark), bringing dinosaurs back to life (Luis) and dinosaurs as portrayed in comics (Steve). There will also be palaeoart-themed book signings and a chance to meet the artists and see their latest projects.

The 2018 palaeoart workshop is going to be outstanding. We have Bob Nicholls (though he won’t be bringing the lifesized pliosaur head with him, alas); Mark Witton will be selling  The Palaeoartist’s Handbook . I’ve been lucky enough to see a copy and…. it’s one of the most spectacular books I’ve ever seen, I love it. Images: (c) Bob Nicholls, Mark Witton.

The 2018 palaeoart workshop is going to be outstanding. We have Bob Nicholls (though he won’t be bringing the lifesized pliosaur head with him, alas); Mark Witton will be selling The Palaeoartist’s Handbook. I’ve been lucky enough to see a copy and…. it’s one of the most spectacular books I’ve ever seen, I love it. Images: (c) Bob Nicholls, Mark Witton.

While that’s not everything, I think that’ll do. For the first time, we’re having a drinks reception and conference meal (sold out, I’m afraid). There are additional talks on whales, extinct elephants, snakes, music in wildlife documentaries and – oh – the Dinosaurs in the Wild project (from me). There will also be a quiz (with numerous amazing prizes, as usual), additional book signings, and a substantial amount of merchandise on sale. I’m also intending to lead a post-conference fieldtrip to the Crystal Palace dinosaurs on the Monday morning.

An amazing display of merchandise will be on sale at TetZooCon this year, be sure to bring £££. These dromaeosaur-themed mugs will be there, and are by the inimitable Jed Taylor, what a star. Image: Jed Taylor.

An amazing display of merchandise will be on sale at TetZooCon this year, be sure to bring £££. These dromaeosaur-themed mugs will be there, and are by the inimitable Jed Taylor, what a star. Image: Jed Taylor.

And that, as they say, is that. Again: tickets and more information can be found here. I look forward to seeing many of you there. Watch #TetZooCon for tweeting. All I have to do now is find time to finish getting things ready.

For articles on previous TetZooCons, see…