Presenting...the 1995 New York Howlerfest, held at the
Museum of Natural History
Here are the pictures of the 1995 New York Howlerfest, which was held
at the Museum of Natural History on July 28, 1995, followed by festivities
at the Panda's Thumb.
Please E-mail any corrections for names, etc to . I've tried to get everything right, but Murphy Rules.
Following the pictures, I've appended some descriptions of the festivities
that were posted earlier.
Family Portrait. L-R: Tom, Bill, Sue and Mark Jefferys (background: Stegosaurus)
L-R: Paul Gans (back to camera), Michael Siemon, Herb Huston, Kathy Talarico
Nancy Tinkham and Dr. Nancy's Sweetie (AKA Kilroy, AKA Darren Provine)
Tom Jefferys, Darren Provine and Michael Siemon, with toothy friend in background
Chris Colby (AKA The Dean) and Warren Kurt vonRoeschlaub
Herb Huston, Paul Gans, and Kathy Talarico
Tom Jefferys, Warren Warren Kurt vonRoeschlaub, Herb Huston, Mark Jefferys
(peering over Herb's shoulder), Paul Gans, Kathy Talarico, and Steve Schaffner
(extreme right, with book under arm)
Harry Pariser and Chris Colby, with some nonexistent evidence of evolution
In the Panda's Thumb: Rich Trott and Steve Schaffner. Sorry for the poor
quality of this one and the next. It was a new camera, and I wasn't used
to how the flash worked.
Susan Gans Brent, Mark Jefferys (in background) and Laural Boone, in the
Well, we did it; it was fun. What else needs to be said?
OK -- I can't resist and will natter on for a bit. Almost everyone
who had expressed interest managed to make it into the Big Apple
for the event, even Rich Trott who had to wrestle with a piano and
did not get to the Museum but joined us at Haldane^H^H^H^H^H^H^H
I got to the Rotunda of the AMNH just before 12 -- and, lo! there
before me was Sue ("Cheezits") who had actually manage to parse
and follow my driving instructions! along with a net.aquaintance
(Israel) who seems to have coped pretty well -- all things consid-
ered! -- with the howlers that he was just meeting for the first
In fairly rapid succession thereafter, we got the Gans party (near
and far -- the far including Paul's daughter (another Sue? or have
I gotten confused?) who came down with Chris Colby from Boston
and another friend whose name I was told at least twice (Terry?)
but remain uncertain of (my apologies!) Paul also had with him
the delightfully coifed Laural Boone and his sometime co-conspirator
Kathy ?Talifero. Chris Colby *insisted* on examining the bones of
contention around us, and there was much Brownian motion over the
half hour of assemblage. Eventually, Herb Huston came to satisfy
the curiosity of those who had been pre-informed about simian
creases [Paul suggested that the Panda's Thumb may need supple-
menation by a fast food joint with the name "The Creasy Spoon."]
and Darin Provine and Nancy Tinkham made it in just under the wire
-- we took a look at the half-hour-plus lines of the main entrance,
and suggested (with the aid of a guard!) that Herb and Darin&Nancy
go down a flight and get in in a less congested throng.
I was a bit concerned about Bill Jefferys and family, as I had not
managed to inform him about our shift to the rotunda as gathering
spot -- but he had anticipated us up in the Saurischian gallery and
we managed to connect up without hitch (I hope also without his
being over concerned.)
One highlight of the Saurischian hall was Herb's and my attempt to
find human tracks in the Paluxy River trail of the barosaurus (with
*raised* tail, as the exhibit notes that one does *not* find dragging
tails in these sorts of finds.)
There were some neato vid-kid displays -- one that most of us saw
only a bit of was the "time-lapse" view of the remounting of T.
And I think all of us (even non-cladists!) were happy with the effort
that the new halls go to, to show the salient points of classification
which were *not* obvious in the older exhibits.
I admit to losing track of most of the group as we came through the
Ornithischian Hall and into the synapsids -- something about my own
ancestors making me lose it, perhaps :-) I touched bases with Herb
and a few others at the horse evolution display -- this makes a good
point of the greater complexity of the bushy evolutionary tree than
was first appreciated, but someone (Herb?) noted that they might
have done better by given here a tree of the forms displayed -- that
is rather an odd oversight in a generally *very* scrupulous attempt
to point to cladistic divisions and the branching tree of amniote life.
I give the new halls high marks -- any comments from others?
After cladistic overload, I went off to Jake's Dilemma to set up.
I think that everyone who joined us at the Museum managed to come
over to our after-party -- and I am delighted by the way the rest of
the afternoon went, but feel I should let the others do most of the
commentary on this. I will only note Paul Gans' intial toast -- to
Ted Holden, without whom *howler* parties would never have come
Attendees (my current list; let me know if I have something wrong)
Steve Schaffner (from Stanford, by way of Cornell; a cider drinker)
Bill Jefferys (from Texas, by was of Connecticut, with wife Sue and
sons Mark and Tom, at least one of whom thinks my salsa "wimpy"
Chris Colby, Sue Gans and ?Terry ? from Boston
Herb Huston from DC
Sue "Cheezits" and net.friend Israel from Philadelphia
Darin Provine and Nancy Tinkham from southern New Jersey (Rowan College)
Rich Trott from Rutgers
Paul Gans, Laural Boone & Kathy ?Talifero from the wilds of Greenwich
Kurt von Roeschlaub from the civilized(?) haunts of Long Island(?)
and yours truly.
Let me know if I have managed to offend anybody! :-)
Michael L. Siemon (email@example.com)
Michael L. Siemon () wrote:
[deletions have been made totally without warning...]
: Well, we did it; it was fun. What else needs to be said? :-)
It wasn't just fun, it was GREAT!
: In fairly rapid succession thereafter, we got the Gans party (near
: and far -- the far including Paul's daughter (another Sue? or have
: I gotten confused?)
It's Susan Brent, serious lurker from the Bio Department at BU.
Since her husband decided to loaf^H^H^H^Hwork back in Boston, and
didn't come down for the fest, I introduced her like a proud father
should. Besides, she uses Susan Gans professionally.
: who came down with Chris Colby from Boston
: and another friend whose name I was told at least twice (Terry?)
Harry. But Terry is quite close. He's also a refugee from the
Bio Department at BU.
: but remain uncertain of (my apologies!) Paul also had with him
: the delightfully coifed Laural Boone
A sometime lurker, currently at Rockefeller.
: and his sometime co-conspirator
: Kathy ?Talifero.
Kathy Talarico, yet another lurker. She's from the College
of Staten Island (CUNY).
I don't know how Michael got the names even close. He was
everywhere getting things set up, rounding up folks, dishing
out food at the Dilemma. He even managed a drink or two.
: After cladistic overload, I went off to Jake's Dilemma to set up.
: I think that everyone who joined us at the Museum managed to come
: over to our after-party -- and I am delighted by the way the rest of
: the afternoon went, but feel I should let the others do most of the
: commentary on this. I will only note Paul Gans' intial toast -- to
: Ted Holden, without whom *howler* parties would never have come
: to pass.
Yup. My *SECOND* (and more important) was roundly subscribed to
by all present. It was to Michael for a job VERY well done.
And his salsa was NOT wimpy. Nor was the cheese, or the dips.
All made (or obtained) by Michael, transported uptown by Michael,
set out by Michael, cleaned up by Michael.
The entire day was a triumph to Michael Siemon.
The tradition of GREAT New York Howlerfests, started almost
a year ago by Kurt vonRoeschlaub continues.
------ Paul J. Gans 
Paul J. Gans () wrote:
: Michael L. Siemon () wrote:
: : Well, we did it; it was fun. What else needs to be said? :-)
: It wasn't just fun, it was GREAT!
I agree, a great way to spend a weekend.
: Yup. My *SECOND* (and more important) was roundly subscribed to
: by all present. It was to Michael for a job VERY well done.
I agree again, thanks Michael for setting the whole thing up.
Wow, there are a lot of cool things at that museum. Loads of transitional
fossils (although some of us saw more than others, eh Kurt 8-). The
dinosaur scene in the rotunda is spectacular, a rearing barosaur
protecting her young against a charging allosaur -- TOO cool.
The cladograms all around the place, with labels at the nodes, visually
conveyed the basics of how systematics gets done and the overall
topography of evolution. Nice way to arrange a natural history museum.
The reconstructions were fantastic. They had the usual dinos that all
kids know (even grown-up kids just out of grad school): (Tyrano-
saurus, Apatosaurus (formerly Brontosaurus), Stegosaurus (along with
an explanation of the old idea that it had a spare brain in back),
Tricerotops and Anklyosaurus. Too cool.
There was other great stuff as well -- a hadrosaur "mummy" with
dinosaur skin. They even had a skin sample you could touch. Way too cool.
The coolest stuff was in the reptile -- mammal transition room. Tucked away
to the side they had a display case that showed how the two _middle_
(thanks Herb) ear bones in mammals evolved from their ancient reptilian
jaw pre-cursors. Way, way too cool. I felt like Calvin, of Calvin and
Hobbes fame. Hell, I was probably _acting_ like Calvin at that point.
I found out about the eye-rings we saw in many of dinosaurs. They are
called sclerotic rings. Rings of 11-16 overlapping bones that are
imbedded in the sclera of the eye. They are found in birds and some
One thing I wondered about was, were are all the dino bones the same
color? Wouldn't different fossils be formed out of different minerals
(and hence be different colors)? I realise some of the material was
casts of actual material. But, alot wasn't. Do they coat the bones
with something as a preservative?
The place was definately into the thunder lizards. They had a Dino-
store and downstairs was a Diner-saurus serving Dino-fries. Hint to
AMNH staff, we dino-get it. Give us a dino-break.
Th party afterwords was great (Mmmm, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.) It's
just too darn bad that Rich Trott was immune to the effects of
alcohol 8-) Cheezits has some very interesting "literature" to
peruse, and Herb handed out even more reading material. You guys
all left too early, though. Harry, Sue, Laurel and I found a bar
just down the road where happy hour was just starting. Wow, there
is a lot of beer in NYC (and I'm sure they'll be able to restock
now that Harry and I are gone 8-)
: ------ Paul J. Gans 
Chris Colby --- email: or ---
The University of Ediacara had a faculty meeting this week
in New York,
and herewith is a summary of some highlights. (Brandy the WonderDog feels
that the posts thus far have omitted important details.)
The train from the south arrived 25 minutes late. Professor Huston (from
DC), and Visiting Lecturers Dr Nancy & Prof kilroy (from Philly), finally
arrived at the meeting place in relatively few pieces. The Howlers on the
train were quiet for most of the trip, and did not realise that there were
other howlers on board. (They shared a group of seats on the way south.)
Other Distinguished Faculty, including Professors Colby, Cheezits, Gans,
Shaffner, and Siemon were already assembled. Several family members of
University staff were present. It is worth noting that none of the faculty
looked like they were supposed to, except for Mr Huston, who pronounces
name funny. Prof VonRoenshlaub was in attendance, but will go unmentioned
for the rest of this report because I can't spell "VonRoenschlaub".
Prof Jefferys apparently did not receive the follow-up memo on the meeting
place, or perhaps folded it into a paper airplane. In any case, the rest
of us found him and his family in the OLD meeting place.
Merriment ensued as everyone promptly got separated from everyone else.
discovered that Prof Jefferys's eldest son apparently inherited genes which
select themselves out when given control of a BMW. Another hypothesis is
that the genes try to select out BMWs. We've applied for an NSF grant to
purchase 100 more BMWs for Prof Jefferys's eldest son to operate, along
with 100 to be driven by University Staff as a control group.
Professor Colby suggested that one way to raise funds at the University
would be to write a very bad anti-evolution book and sell it to lots of
gullible people. Perhaps we could get some kind of grant from the ICR
for pretending to defect. This idea was referred to committee.
It was also suggested that the University homepage could include a segment
of detailed book reviews (read: refutations) of very bad anti-evolution
books. This idea would promote learning and drive back ignorance, while
providing a useful tool to those who are in debates with people who have
bought the very bad books. If we could figure out a way to make a buck
off it, it'd be perfect.
Prof Sue Cheezits astounded everyone by revealing that she publishes under
a pseudonym, and that her real name is "Sue Pretzels".
Dr Nancy suggested that we have our pictures taken in front of the Howler
Monkey display in the primate section of the museum, but by this point
several of the faculty had wandered off to the Panda's Thumb, to fortify
themselves for the arduous work ahead.
Professor Trott (on sabbatical at the UofE from Rutgers) did not attend
meeting at the museum, but did catch up with us at the Panda's Thumb.
Sadly, he developed an unhealthy and unnatural obsession with the ankles
other faculty members, and had to be reprimanded. He made up for it by
providing photocopies of a letters-to-the-editor creationism dispute in
local newspaper, which were read to the amusement of all.
Dr Nancy & Prof kilroy shared details of a Faith & Public Policy
they had attended the previous week. This large gathering of Evangelical
Christians, many of whom are inerrantists, was notable largely because
Creationism was mentioned in only two contexts:
1) an example of misguided Biblical interpretation, and
2) an example of gullible Christians accepting uncritically the claims
made by so-called "scholars".
This seemed important because it serves to show just how far out on the
fringe Creationists are, since even conservative Evangelical inerrantists
consider "creation science" mere silliness.
Other things happened, of course, but not all of them are related here.
Hopefully this will inspire other faculty not to miss future meetings. If
you wanna know, you gotta show.
Darren F Provine /
I am pleased to report that my principal material acquisition
at the Howlerfest, a small flexible dinosaur I purchased at the
museum DinoStore, was a big hit with my son (who, I am also
pleased to report, is now able to say "dinosaur" without
My principal intellectual acquisition (not counting large amounts
of cladistics that I am already forgetting) was a knowledge of
the size of Archaeopteryx. I had no idea they were so tiny --
I would have stepped on the models if they hadn't been behind glass.
I only wish I could have stayed a little longer and eaten a little
more of Michael's food.
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org> (Chris Colby) writes:
>I agree again, thanks Michael for setting the whole thing up.
>Wow, there are a lot of cool things at that museum. Loads of transitional
>fossils (although some of us saw more than others, eh Kurt 8-).
Sheesh, am I ever going to live that down????
>The cladograms all around the place, with labels at the nodes, visually
>conveyed the basics of how systematics gets done and the overall
>topography of evolution. Nice way to arrange a natural history museum.
Indeed, we had finished the entire third floor before it was pointed out
that the floor tiles themselves are a giant cladogram branching into each
section. At every node is a little display highlighting the main feature
that separates the families.
>The coolest stuff was in the reptile -- mammal transition room. Tucked
>to the side they had a display case that showed how the two _middle_
>(thanks Herb) ear bones in mammals evolved from their ancient reptilian
>jaw pre-cursors. Way, way too cool. I felt like Calvin, of Calvin and
>Hobbes fame. Hell, I was probably _acting_ like Calvin at that point.
Well, I do remember an intense feeling of dissapointment in your voice
as you noted just how tucked away the display case was (literally behind
display of cool looking mammal-like reptiles).
I would also like to register how impressed I was with the dean's cpacity
for beer. Especially considering how he spent the previous night. I think
he was well chosen for the position. Unless you want some beer for yourself,
that is. :-)
W. Kurt vonRoeschlaub
Kathryn M. Talarico () wrote:
: On 4 Sep 1995, Herb Huston wrote:
: > A dinosaur trackway from the Paluxy River is also on display at the
: > reopened dinosaur display at the American Museum of Natural History
: > York City. The fellow who discovered the trackways back in the 1930s
: > working for the museum.
: > } (Dino tracks that is - no man tracks.)
: > Howerfest attendees had the the opportunity to view them on July
: > Neither Michael Siemon nor I noticed any human tracks.
: > -- Herb Huston
: > --
: I was at the Howlerfest also. I thought we agreed that we saw no
: tracks because the humans were riding the beasties!!!! ;)
: Kathryn Talarico
Arghhh! Hoist by a lurker. We *did* agree that the human-folks
were riding the beasties. That's why the dino tracks are so
------ Paul J. Gans 
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