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Paleontologist Myria Perez Wants More Women in Science and for Everyone to Be Safe

Dallas Observer

Originally Posted: May 15, 2020

Myria Perez is much smaller than her coworkers, and the only one who’s non-extinct. The Houston-born paleontologist is a fossil preparator at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

“My duty is to take care of, prepare, prep, clean up fossils that are brought into our lab for our research and collection,” she says of her job at the museum.

Perez’s love affair with paleontology began when she was little.

“Like most kids, I kind of caught that fossil fever,” she says, looking back at her childhood. “Kids become very obsessed with paleontology and with dinosaurs. … I never grew out of it.”

That fever grew deeper when Perez became a volunteer at the Houston Museum of Natural Science when she was 12, where she “gained mentors and so much experience in the field.”

From there, she pursued degrees in geology and anthropology, “which is the closest you can get sometimes to paleo,” at Southern Methodist University, Perez says.

A professor at SMU was teaching paleontology, and she continued fossil prep as an undergrad. Those studies led to her current position at the Perot Museum.

Perez says her favorite dinosaur changes. “I think right now it’s the Therizinosaurus; it reminds me of Wolverine a little bit — the claws are extremely long, and it is a very interesting looking animal.” READ MORE