ARTICLES

Introduction


Andrew K. Rindsberg and Alfred Uchman, Coeditors

Your Newsletter

Welcome to the 1999 issue of the Ichnology Newsletter. Thank you all for your support; we have asked much of you during the last two years, and you have responded. In the 2000 issue, we hope to make some changes that will make the Newsletter more useful to you, and more widely distributed.

The cost of the Newsletter has been adjusted to meet the actual costs of business. The 1998 issue was distributed for a price well below the cost of production and mailing, and the editors subsidized the difference. We made no allowance for copies lost in the mail, and no allowance for postage to send announcements, receipts, and manuscripts. This too came out of our pockets. This is why the cost of the Ichnology Newsletter had to rise, and why the Newsletter will be produced and distributed from Krakow, where production costs are lower than in Tuscaloosa.

We will try to make subscribing easier across international boundaries. Subscribers who sent international cheques or wire transfers were often dismayed to find that banks charged a high standard fee for the transaction. Sometimes the banking fee was higher than the subscription. To lower costs to subscribers, we propose to designate one person in each country to collect subscriptions from others in the same country. The designee will then send a single cheque or wire transfer to Alfred Uchman. For example, Andrew Rindsberg will continue to collect funds in the USA; Luis Buatois will collect funds in Argentina. Subscribers will have to send their contributions punctually for this to work, but your costs will be much lower if you cooperate. Late subscribers will have to send cheques on their own, with higher bank fees. This system has worked well for other scientific newsletters. We will work out a system of payment over the coming months.

If you would like to support a colleague by paying for their subscription, please do so. Several colleagues have already benefited from the generosity of others. The matter will remain a private one.

In the next issue, we plan to provide a checklist of new invertebrate ichnotaxa named since the last revision of the trace-fossil volume of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology in 1975. Negotiations are underway for the publication of a similar checklist of new vertebrate trace fossils in 2000. We encourage authors to send information on new ichnotaxa to the editors, including reprints or separates, and/or photographs or drawings with a short note on diagnosis, age, environment, and so on, for publication in the Newsletter.

We are also pleased to announce that most of Ichnology Newsletter no. 20 (1998) has been posted on the Web through the courtesy of Webmaster Tony Martin and Emory University. Click here to go there.

Several subscribers have mentioned the possibility of setting up an international listserver for ichnology. Judging from our past experience with listservers including PaleoNet, we feel that the traffic might be light and erratic, but that this would be an excellent way to distribute news and announcements swiftly to those who want to receive them. Tony Martin's Website, Introduction to Ichnology, includes a page for announcements, and it could be utilized more than at present. But a bulletin board such as this is not as effective as an automated email network. If someone would like to volunteer to set up a listserver, we will be happy to provide advice and assistance.

To a very great degree, the Ichnology Newsletter will become what you, the subscribers, wish it to be. All ichnologists are responsible for sending news and articles; it does not write itself! Please involve your students and colleagues in the Newsletter, and remember, Ichnology Newsletter no. 22 depends on you!

 

Ichnology in 1998

 

1998 was a glad year for ichnology. Practitioners could choose among nine ichnologic meetings to attend, more than in any previous year. Publication of papers remained strong, and some of them excited the interest, not only of other paleontologists and sedimentologists, but also of the public at large. Dolf Seilacher's magnificent exhibit, Fossil Art, continued to tour natural history museums in North America, and to make people question whether such objects can be considered art. Christopher Stanley and Ron Pickerill provided us with a sterling monograph on the Upper Ordovician trace fossils of Ontario. And, of course, Ichnology Newsletter no. 20 was published by Andrew Rindsberg and Alfred Uchman, and was posted on the Web by Tony Martin.

South American ichnologists, especially from Argentina and Brazil, increasingly made their presence known in publications and at meetings. Jorge Genise organized the Laboratorio de Icnología at the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales in Buenos Aires. This laboratory joins George Pemberton's Working Group in Ichnology (University of Alberta) and Martin Lockley's Dinosaur Trackers Research Group (University of Colorado at Denver) as a powerhouse of international research in ichnology. The Argentine group has so far focused on continental ichnology.

Some of the most important events occurred quietly. The Workshop on Ichnotaxonomy drew only eight participants, but this meeting was arguably one of the most important of the year. The group, led by Markus Bertling and Richard Bromley, unanimously proposed revisions to the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature as well as to the proposed BioCode. Moreover, the second revision of the trace-fossil volume of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology grew out of discussions at this meeting. This long-term project will keep researchers busy for several years, particularly coordinating author Andrew Rindsberg and deputy coordinating author Alfred Uchman.

After a longish break due to a dispute between publisher and printer, the journal Ichnos resumed publication to the relief of international ichnologists and university librarians. Thanks to the editors, George Pemberton and Ron Pickerill, for their persistence in producing a journal of high quality.

A special word of thanks from the community at large goes to those ichnologists who worked hard to publish more than seems possible in a single year. A glance through the Bibliographia Ichnologica yields several likely candidates, but an actual count of papers (21) demonstrates that Steve Hasiotis led the rest of the world in ichnologic publications in 1998, as he did in 1997. But Radek Mikuláö (17), Gabriela Mángano (13), Luis Buatois (13), Ron Pickerill (12), Stephen Donovan (11), Anthony Martin (10), and Alfred Uchman (9) gave him a hard chase for the position. We therefore acknowledge Steve Hasiotis as the Ichnomaniac of the Year, and Radek Mikuláö as runner-up. The award? A standing request from the coeditors for reprints!

A good year awaits us in 1999 as well, with five venues for meetings and field trips to choose from, notably, the Fifth International Ichnofabric Workshop in Manchester under the direction of John Pollard. Editors John Pollard, Al Curran, and Richard Bromley plan to complete the much anticipated Atlas of Ichnofabrics this year. Treatise authors will be selected, to begin work in earnest during 2000. As coeditors, we encourage and delight in this activity, and request that you keep us informed of new developments.

 

Acknowledgments

 

Our heartfelt thanks to all who supported this endeavor with articles, subscriptions, or simply words of encouragement. We are particularly grateful to Anthony J. Martin (Emory University, Atlanta) for posting the Ichnology Newsletter on the Web, and to Norm MacLeod (British Museum [Natural History], London) for posting announcements on PaleoNet.

One of us (AKR) gives special thanks to Larry A. Herr (Atlanta) for providing a quiet venue (and computer) for editing the Newsletter on the west side of the Atlantic. The Geological Survey of Alabama also provided computer facilities for the Newsletter.


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