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A Dino-Mite Job


Myria Perez is a paleontologist. She works at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The museum is in Washington, D.C. TIME for Kids asked Perez about her job.

Can you tell us about your work?

I work with fossils. I’m gluing fossils together. I’m making sure they’re not crumbling. Sometimes, we have dinosaur bones that need to be cataloged and put back into place.

Myria Perez works with fossilized bones.


What do you love most about your work?

I like that it’s a combination of art and science. And I get to use my hands.

How did you get interested in paleontology?

When I was 12, I went to this event at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I got a chance to meet paleontologists. I asked, “Hey, can I volunteer?” They let me, as long as a parent came with me. I got to go on fossil excavations.

Here is Perez at age 4. She has always loved dinosaurs.


Are there times when you can’t put fossils back together?

Fossils erode and pieces go missing. We do our best to fit the pieces we know back together. We don’t try to make anything up. But if we have a gap in a specimen that needs support, we’ll put putty in there. It’s clearly not fossil material. People know not to study that part.

What’s a lesson that you would like to share with TFK readers?

Be brave and ask questions. Always be curious. Chase after your passion.

This statue of Perez was made to honor women in STEM.


A Cool Tool


Fossils come to the lab in a jacket. It’s not for warmth! It protects the fossil. A jacket is made of burlap, plaster, and toilet paper.

Paleontologists open the jacket. Then they use air scribes. These tools “work like mini jackhammers,” Perez says. They remove rock from around the fossil.