In August 2017, David was invited to speak about
the mathematical and conceptual challenges
of quantifying evolutionary change at a com-
memorative conference at the Siberian Branch
of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosi-
birsk on the long-term genetic experiment con-
ducted there on domestication of foxes, which
uncovered a suite of unexpected correlations
between behavior and morphology.

David is also serving as the current President of
the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, which is
concerned among other things with the protec-
tion of vertebrate paleontological resources.

With the Society, David helped advocated suc-
cessfully for the establishment of Bears Ears
National Monument in southeastern Utah in
December, 2016. Bears Ears became one of
several national monuments that protect ver-
David Polly holding a domesticated fox at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in
Novosibirsk.The fox domestication experiment showed that features like behavior,
tail shape, ear shape, and coat color are genetically linked and occur in parallel with
the suite of features that distinguish domestic dogs from their wolf ancestors, a find-
ing that is consistent with correlated patterns evolution observed in the fossil record.

tebrate fossil sites and provide funding for field
research. One of the most important of the pa-
leontology-focused monuments is Grand Stair-
case-Escalante, also in southern Utah, which
has produced an incredible range of Mesozoic
research since it was created in 1996 that has
revolutionized our understanding of Late Creta-
ceous ecosystems. Two major monographs on
Grand Staircase paleontology have been pub-
lished by IU Press.

In December 2017, the White House announced
that it would reduce the boundaries of both
monuments, thus removing literally hundreds
of scientifically important paleo localities from
the protection and the funding associated with
monument status. The Society, along with part-
ner organizations, has filed lawsuits to reverse
this decision because of its impact on science.

Read a recent article
in Science about these
lawsuits Map of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah summa-
rizing its vertebrate paleontological resources. The Kaiparowits Plateau region
contains one of the most scientifically important records of the Late Cretaceous in
the world.

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