Tate Annual Summer Conference

Mark your calendar for June 2-4, 2023 as we host the Tate Annual Summer Conference!  The” Triassic” will be the topic, stay tuned for details.



Below is the info for the 2021 Tate Conference as an example of what is in store for the 2023 conference.


The 2021 Tate Conference will take place at the Tate Geological Museum in Casper, Wyoming on June 4-6, 2021.   The theme this year is Flippers and Fins: Marine Reptiles.  We are planning a day of talks on Friday (a departure from our normal schedule) with speakers from all over the country. The Saturday field trip will be to the Sharon Springs Member of the Pierre Shale in eastern Wyoming, which is the primary vertebrate bearing portion of the Pierre Shale.  The Sunday field trip will be to the Jurassic Sundance Formation north of Casper, in search of ichthyosaur and plesiosaur remains.  NOTE:  As of Monday 24 May, the field trips are full.  

This year we are going to try something new. We plan to offer the Friday talks both in person and via Zoom. If you plan to attend remotely, a link will be posted on the website a few days before the conference begins. (However, you will be in charge of your own snacks and coffee breaks!) We ask that all Zoom participants consider donating to the museum via our online portal located on our website. Donation links will also be available the day of the conference.

Covid 19 Guidelines for the 2021 Conference & Field Trips:

  • Please DO NOT come if you are experiencing ANY Covid symptoms, even if we do plan to be outside most of the time.
  • As of March 2021, the current Casper College policy states that masks must be worn in all vehicles for any college outings.
  • Please check your local policies and guidelines before you plan your summer travel. Several airports are still discouraging out of state travelers, and while Wyoming isn’t currently one of them, your home state may be. (You may have to isolate after your return.)
  • Be aware that if cases begin to spike again, we may need to cancel the conference. We recommend waiting until later this spring to purchase airline tickets, just in case.
  • The museum staff and volunteers will be vaccinated for Covid 19 by early summer. We would like to ask that participants over the age of 18, particularly those from out of state, also have had a Covid vaccination.


  • 7:30                                        Coffee and snacks set up
  • 8:00 – 8:10                          Welcome by Tate Geological Museum folks
  • 8:15 – 8:35                          Valentin Fischer, University of Liège (Belgium). “How 3D data illuminate the evolution of Jurassic-Cretaceous marine reptiles” (via Zoom)
  • 8:40 – 9:00                          Robbie Clark, Marshall University.  “An exceptionally small new polycotylid plesiosaur (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) with raptorial eyes from the Western Interior Seaway of North America”
  • 9:05 – 9:25                          Stephan Spiekman, Natural History Museum (London). “The Extraordinarily Long-necked Triassic Reptile Tanystropheus Revised” (via Zoom)

    9:30 – 9:50                          Takehito Ikejiri and Yuehan Lu, Alabama Museum of Natural History and University of Alabama. “The Late Cretaceous Marine Vertebrate Record in Alabama Reveals a Long-term Extinction Process Prior to the K-Pg Boundary in Northern Gulf of Mexico”

    9:50 – 10:10                        Coffee Break

    10:10 – 10:30                     Anthony Maltese, Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Research Center. “Walker, Kansas Mosasaur: The First Record of the Genus Mosasaurus from the Weskan Shale of Kansas”

    10:35 – 10:55                     Josh Lively, Utah State University, Eastern Prehistoric Museum. “Evolutionary dynamics of mosasaurs in the Western Interior Seaway and the diversification of Mosasaurinae”

    11:00 – 11:20                     Richard Carr, Fort Hays State University. To Bend, or Not to Bend: A Reanalysis of Mosasaur Cranial Kinesis.

    11:25 – 11:45                     Elliott Armour Smith, Marshall University. The Hunt for Styxosaurus: Resurrecting the Late Cretaceous Elasmosaurs of the Western Interior Seaway (via Zoom)

    11:45 – 1:35                        Lunch Break at Tate, with time for museum tours

    1:35 – 1:55                          Ryosuke Motani, University of California Davis. “Five steps of marine adaptation in tetrapods through time” (via Zoom)

    2:00 – 2:20                          Dan Driscoll, University of Bristol. “Grave objections: What do imperfections in the fossil record of mosasaurs tell us about marine reptile evolution (if anything)?”

    2:25 – 2:45                          Blake Chapman, Fort Hays State University. “Controls on the Distribution of Hesperornis

    2:50 – 3:10                          Neil Kelley, Vanderbilt University. “From Mountains to Museums & Back Again—Piecing Together the History of Triassic Marine Reptiles in the American West” (via Zoom)

    3:10 – 3:35                          Snack Break

    3:35 – 3:55                          Bailey Fallon, College of Charleston. “Filling Gaps for Extinct Leatherbacks: Records of Multiple Leatherback Species from Northern California and Coastal South Carolina, USA”   

    4:00 – 4:20                          Gale Bishop, Georgia Southern University. “Morphology and Ichnology of Modern and Ancient Sea Turtle Nests, St. Catherine’s Island, Cretaceous of Colorado and Croatia: Vertebrates at the Transition of Land and Sea”  (via Zoom)

    4:25 – 4:45                          Laura Wilson, Fort Hays State University. “Osteohistology of Protostega gigas (Testudines: Protostegidae) reveals unique life history strategies” (via Zoom)

    5:00- 6:00                            Museum tours will be available

    6:00 – ???                             Dinner Reception; Trivia competition @ Lecture Hall


If you have any questions, please contact JP Cavigelli by email or by phone 307-268-3008.


We have blocks of rooms reserved at the Ramkota.  (Give them a call to reserve one of these rooms and make sure to tell them you are with the Tate Geological Museum group).  The Ramkota offers both airport pickup and shuttles around town, including to the Tate Museum.

Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center – Casper
800 N. Poplar
Casper, WY 82601(307-266-6000