Digging for history: Fossils at the Red Hot
Amid all the glare and attention of electing a president, the work of science continues, as students from three Meridian schools found out last week. They spent time working alongside one of the nation's most prominent paleontologists digging up fossils in an archeological dig at the old Red Hot Truck Stop site on I-20.
This is history and science all rolled into the reality of a shark's tooth and mammal teeth, which were previously discovered at the site, according to Dr. Chris Beard, who led the students and their parents on the expedition. Beard is one of two dozen people who received half-million-dollar grants earlier this year from the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. He is using the grant to continue his work in archeology.
Beard says the Meridian site is significant "scientifically important," in his words because original findings in 1990 included a jaw of an early primate with a tooth still intact. Primates, says Beard, are distant relatives of human beings and lived in what is now Meridian some 55 million years ago.
Fossils findings indicate that the Meridian area was once a coast line or part of a large body of water.
The findings may prove to be scientifically significant, but the real story may be the interest of these students in the real life adventures of science. Beard and his troops got out of the lab and into the field for an adventure to be treasured for a lifetime.