Annual Summer Conference

Tate Conference 2017: June 2-4

Old Fossils and New Technology


Dr. Mary Schweitzer, North Carolina State University.  

Dr. Schweitzer's research has led to the first reports of dinosaur soft tissues.  

Her talk will be on 

"Dinosaurs under the microscope: New ways to look at old bones"

Overview of conference events:

We will kick off the Conference with the first field trip.  The Friday field trip will be to the White River Formation east of Douglas, WY.   This area is well known for its latest Eocene and early Oligocene mammal and reptile fossils.

An informal icebreaker at Casper’s newest pizza joint will top off the day.  Racca's Pizzeria Napoletana (430 S. Ash) will host us on Friday evening, June 2nd from 5 to 8 PMCost of pizza is included but drinks are on your own.   

Talks will be on Saturday June 3rd.  

The second field trip will be on Sunday June 4th.  

Details on all these events are still being ironed out.


Speakers at the 2017 Tate Conference… so far (listed alphabetically).


Rick Blob, Clemson University; 

"Living and robotic models for understanding locomotor evolution in the vertebrate fossil record"

Elizabeth Boatman, University of Wisconsin, Stout; 

"Evidence of structural protein preservation in a Tyrannosaurus rex (USNM 555000)"

Brent Breithaupt, BLM; 

"Advances in 3D Digital Data Documentation of Paleontological Resources Using Photogrammetry"

Ian Browne, Oklahoma State University; 

"New developments in micro-photogrammetry: a relatively inexpensive method to produce research-quality 3D digital models of vertebrate microfossils in the 0.5-2.0 mm size range"

Hollister Herhold, AMNH; 

"Micro-computed Tomography in Paleoentomology: or, using big machines to study fossil insects

Tom Kaye, Foundation for Scientific Advancement; 

"Laser Fluorescence in Paleontology and Geology"

Shellie Luallin, Western Interior Paleontological Society

"Photogrammetry- Applications"

Keegan Melstrom, University of Utah; 

"Multiple Origins of Herbivory in Mesozoic Crocodyliforms"

Jennifer Peteya, University of Akron; 

"Detecting pigments in the fossil record."

Jesse Pruitt, Idaho Museum of Natural History;

"Computed Tomography, Structured Light, and Lasers. Oh my."

Dan Urban, University of Illinois; 

"An Earful of Jaw, Then and Now: Using Marsupial Evo-Devo to Shed Light on a Major Evolutionary Transition in the Paleontological Record"

Tetsuya Nakamura, University of Chicago; 

The Genetic Mechanisms of Major Vertebrate Transitions” 


Field Trips:

The Friday Field Trip will be to the White River Formation outside Douglas, Wyoming with Casper College geology professor Kent Sundell. This will be a full day field trip to explore and collect mammals and reptiles from these classic late Eocene and Oligocene beds. We have done field trips to this area as part of the Tate Conference several times and each time a few good skulls and even skeletons are found.  Bones and jaws are quite common. Collecting here can be done for yourself or for your institute, or donations to the Tate are also acceptable. Dr. Sundell has the final word on what can be kept and in the case of a unique find he will decide on its future. 

The Sunday Field Trip will be to Medicine Bow, Wyoming ranches. We will hopefully visit the Classic dinosaur site known as Como Bluff and a Cretaceous ammonite site nearby. The first stop will be to a ridge of Frontier Formation east of Medicine Bow. For those who have been to the Frontier of Medicine Bow with us, this is a new site that has not been collected much. Collecting here is also for yourself or your institution. The second area will be Como Bluff where many early impressive dinosaur finds were made in the late 1800's and continues to produce dinosaur fossils. I am still working out the details of this visit.  The Tate is operating a few quarries here; we may visit one of these. This will be more of an overview of a historic chapter in our knowledge of dinosaurs. We will not have time to collect anything here. 

In case of rain, both of these Medicine Bow areas are very inaccessible and the trip may have to be canceled.  The chances of a full day of rain are slim; it is more likely to cut the trip short in the afternoon.   


The cost of the conference is $145. Included are the day of talks (Saturday), the Friday night icebreaker (at Racca's Pizza in Casper), Saturday lunch, and Keynote Dinner.   

Field trips are $40 each.  This includes transportation and lunch.  

Registration deadline is Monday, May 29th so that we can get headcounts for the meals and field trips. Payment is due with registration.

Register online in the Green Box above, or download the Registration Form  to print up and send to us. Field Trip participants must also fill out the Field Trip Waiver, which is part of the downloadable registration form.  Click here to download the Registration Form.


We have rooms reserved for the Tate Conference at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper.   Their number is (307) 266-6000... mention that you need a room for the Tate Conference.  It may help to mention Casper College.


We are always looking for sponsors for our conference.  With the help of sponsors we are able to defray the costs of the Tate Conference, especially bringing the speakers to Casper.