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Introduction: Proceedings of the 4th Triennial Mosasaur Meeting. Dallas, Texas, May 20-25, 2013

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2015

Michael J. Polcyn
Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Southern Methodist University, Daniel Avenue 752750395, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
Anne S. Schulp
Naturalis Biodiversity Center, P.O. Box 9517, NL2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.
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© Netherlands Journal of Geosciences Foundation 2015 

Nearly 11 years has passed since the convening of the First International Mosasaur Meeting, held in Maastricht, The Netherlands, May 8-12, 2004. That conference set the standard and format for what has now become a triennial pilgrimage for researchers studying these unique marine tetrapods. It is only fitting that the first meeting was held near the site where the first mosasaur fossil discovery was made. Similarly, the Second International Mosasaur Meeting in 2007 was held at Hays, Kansas, near the North American source of many of the classic mosasaur collections held worldwide. The Third International Mosasaur Meeting took place in Paris, France, now home of the “Grand Animal de Maestricht” and many other significant mosasaur specimens from Europe, North Africa, and North America.

Although the picturesque settings, facilities, and collections of these venues contributed greatly, what truly makes these meetings such wonderful successes are the people. A gathering of specialists, a relatively small group, provides opportunities for interaction among colleagues that share both fascination and passion for the evolution, systematics, function, and ecology of mosasaurs and their role in the oceans they inhabited. Sharing and openness leads to collaboration and allows mentoring, training, and recruitment of the next generation of scientists.

Following on the success of the previous meetings and benefitting greatly from the sage advice of previous hosts, the 4th International Mosasaur Meeting was held in Dallas, Texas, at Southern Methodist University, May 20-25, 2013. Over 30 scientists from 10 countries were in attendance, with 37 talks and 5 posters presented over three days, interspersed with guest speakers and tours during lunch breaks. This was followed by two days of field trips visiting localities representing ∼25 Ma record of mosasaur evolution in north Texas at the southern end of the Western Interior Seaway. The presentations published herein cover a range of topics from historical summaries (Sachs et al., this volume), to evaluation of taxonomic concepts and reports of new specimens (Schulp and Jagt, this volume; Harrell and Martin, this volume; Ikejiri and Lucas, this volume; Hornung and Reich, this volume), paleogeography (Rabinovich et al., this volume), associated fauna and faunal transition (Gallagher, this volume; Araujo et al., this volume a,b), and refined dating and inferences of paleoecology through the application of geochemistry (Strganac et al., this volume a,b; Harrell and Pérez-Huerta, this volume).

We thank Louis Jacobs, James Brooks, Dale Winkler, Tony Fiorillo, and Diana Vinyard for their significant help and support in organizing the 4th International Triennial Mosasaur Conference, managing logistics, and for their participation in the meeting and field trips. We also thank the SMU graduate and undergraduate students and Dallas Paleontological Society members who helped with various aspects of meeting including Chris Strganac, John Graf, Ellie Esquivel, Connor Flynn, Tyler Nelson, Bill Johnson and Rocky Manning. The meeting was financially supported by the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at SMU, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dedman College, and the Dallas Paleontological Society. We thank Dean Bill Tsutsui and Mark Hughston for special assistance and their support of the conference. We thank Mike Everhart and Nathalie Bardet, previous hosts of triennial meetings, for sharing their valuable experience with us. We also thank the editor of the Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, Professor Ronald van Balen and editorial assistant Pim Kaskes, for providing the venue for publication of this volume and the reviewers of these contributions. In keeping with the international scope of the Triennial Mosasaur Meetings, the next will be hosted by Johan Lindgren in Lund, Sweden.


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