ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - A St. Martin High School graduate has made quite a name for herself in the field of paleontology. She was part of a team that dug up one of the largest dinosaurs to ever roam the earth. On Wednesday, she returned to her alma mater to share her adventures and inspire the next generation of scientists.
It weighed more than a Boeing 737, with a body that stretched a whopping 85 feet long. Meet Dreadnoughtus, a 65 ton beast. A giant in the land of dinosaurs.
"I come out onto this dig and the bones are bigger than I am. It's incredible to be a part of something like that, and this dinosaur was enormous," said Paleontologist Dr. Victoria Egerton.
Egerton helped unearth the fossils of the massive creature in 2005. As a graduate student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, she took part in an excavation in Patagonia, Argentina.
"It's really significant, because this is one of the most complete dinosaurs of this type. It's one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered," Egerton said.
Egerton is a professor of paleobiology at the University of Manchester in England. On Wednesday, Egerton shared her dinosaur discoveries with the new leadership class at St. Martin High School. She graduated from St. Martin back in 2000.
"In fact, I was the first kindergarten class to go through kindergarten at St. Martin East," Egerton said.
"It's really interesting that she went so far. She became a doctor. She went all over the world. It's crazy to think someone from here, from a small school, can do all those amazing things," said St. Martin High senior Gabby Rush.
"The field of paleontology, definitely, I thought it was kind of boring. Now that I look at it, it really is interesting. She gets to do a ton of traveling, and she discovered all sorts of dinosaurs that no one's ever seen," said St. Martin High senior Corey Hilliard.
That's why when Egerton returns to her roots, she likes to share her passion for digging up dead animals.
"It makes me really excited. I had great teachers, but they didn't really know what paleontology was, because it wasn't a common subject that you necessarily hear people getting into. I think it was very exciting to be able to talk to them about something they normally wouldn't get in the classroom," Egerton said.
Egerton told the students that giving life to these ancient creatures could help humans and animals deal with environmental changes.
"Trying to understand ancient life is one of the most incredible things we can do. Today, there is global climate change, and the earth is warming up. If we can understand how these animals adapted in the past to that, we can start to understand how, hopefully, they might adapt in the future and how we can help that along," said Egerton.
Dreadnoughtus was named after a type of 20th century battleship. It means fear nothing.
On Thursday, Egerton will be speaking to geology students at Stone County High School.