Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

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The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) was founded in the US in 1940 for people with an interest in vertebrate paleontology; by 2014 it had about 2,000 members internationally, and holds annual meetings, mostly but not all in North America. It states exclusively educational and scientific purposes, with the objective to "advance the science of vertebrate paleontology and to serve the common interests and facilitate the cooperation of all persons concerned with the history, evolution, comparative anatomy, and taxonomy of vertebrate animals, as well as field occurrence, collection, and study of fossil vertebrates and the stratigraphy of the beds in which they are found."[1] SVP is also concerned with the conservation and preservation of fossil sites.[2] SVP publications include The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, The SVP Memoir Series, The News Bulletin, The Bibliography of Fossil Vertebrates and most recently Palaeontologia Electronica.[3]

Public policies[edit]

SVP considers that "vertebrate Fossils are significant nonrenewable paleontological resources that are afforded protection by federal, state and local environmental laws and guidelines", and that scientifically important fossils, especially those found on public land, should be held in the public trust, preferably in a museum or research institution, where they can benefit the scientific community as a whole. Paleontological Resources Preservation Act. S. 546 and H. R. 2416 were introduced in the US Congress with the support of SVP. Many amateur fossil collectors and dealers consider such policies to breach their rights. It has also been argued that there are too few professional paleontologists to collect and preserve fossils currently exposed to the elements, and that it is therefore essential that private citizens be allowed to collect them for the sake of their preservation.[citation needed]

The ethics by-law of SVP states "The barter, sale, or purchase of scientifically significant vertebrate fossils is not condoned, unless it brings them into or keeps them within a public trust."[4][5]

The position of the SVP is that "The fossil record of vertebrates unequivocally supports the hypothesis that vertebrates have evolved through time" and that evolution is "the central organizing principle of biology, understood as descent with modification" and is important to geology as well. The Society believes only scientifically supported evolutionary theory should be taught in school and that creationism and intelligent design have no place in the scientific curriculum. To this end, SVP has set up programs to train educators in teaching evolution and to support teachers who oppose those who desire to bring intelligent design into the classroom.


  • The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (JVP) is the society's flagship publication. JVP was founded in 1980 at the University of Oklahoma and continued in 1984 by SVP. JVP contains original contributions on all aspects of the vertebrate paleontology; including vertebrate origins, evolution, functional morphology, taxonomy, biostratigraphy, paleoecology, paleobiogeography, and paleoanthropology.
  • The SVP Memoir Series publishes monographic papers that are longer than JVP articles.
  • The News Bulletin has been published for SVP since its founding. The News Bulletin contains minutes of annual business meetings, news from members around the world, address changes, new members, job advertisements, and obituaries.
  • The Bibliography of Fossil Vertebrates is an index for publications on all subjects related to vertebrate paleontology.
  • Palaeontologia Electronica is the world's first electronic journal of paleontology and is sponsored in part by SVP.

Annual meetings[edit]

The next meeting will be held as follows:

  • 74th meeting, November 5–November 8, 2014 Berlin, Germany

Awards and prizes[edit]

The SVP issues the following awards, grants and prizes:[7]

  • Colbert Prize (previously known as the Student Poster Prize)
  • Estes Memorial Grant
  • Gregory Award (after Joseph T. Gregory)
  • Honorary Membership Award
  • Institutional Membership: A Program for Institutions of Developing Nations
  • Lanzendorf PaleoArt Prize (after John Lanzendorf)
  • Patterson Memorial Grant (after Bryan Patterson)[8]
  • Predoctoral Fellowship Grant
  • Preparators' Grant
  • Program for Scientists from Economically Developing Nations
  • Romer Prize (after Alfred Romer)
  • Romer-Simpson Medal
  • Skinner Award (after Morris Skinner)


External links[edit]