After Sawyer and Matt's first meeting during one of Sawyer's treatments at UPMC Children's Hospital, these two couldn't wait to get together again! During their first visit, Matt brought a few fossils for Sawyer to examine, they discussed some of Matt's discoveries, and Matt promised a behind the scenes look at his workplace -- The Carnegie Museum of Natural History!
With clearance from his doctors, the day finally came when Sawyer could meet Matt in his world. Sawyer and family made the 3-hour trek into town, brimming with excitement, to go on their journey through prehistoric time.
Included in the day's adventure was a trip to the "Big Bone Room" (actual name), where Sawyer got to see the very first T-Rex jaw bone ever discovered, an inside look at how fossils are prepared for display, as well as a personal tour of the museum by Matt, who discovered many of the dinosaurs on display.
This young palaeontology fanatic definitely went home with a smile on his face and dinos in his dreams.
By: Teresa Dietrich
Sawyer perched on his dinosaur themed bed, tyrannosaurus rex mask hung above him, his early enthusiasm for meeting paleontologist Matt much more subdued now that he was actually being introduced. But we knew that despite this he would warm up. Sawyer is in general an energetic and enthusiastic kid, and a great deal of his enthusiasm is directed towards dinosaurs and all things prehistoric. When presented with the career question, Sawyer had his answer instantly: when he grows up he wants to be a paleontologist.
The presence of a professional can often leave kids reserved and unsure of themselves, and for the first fifteen minutes Sawyer spent a lot of time looking down at his Jurassic Park shirt or listening as Matt tossed out facts about fossils and dinosaurs. Eventually, Matt presented Sawyer with an obscure fact involving ancient reptile family trees. Sawyer immediately leapt into the conversation, his earlier reticence dissipated by his joy in confirming that he not only knew that particular fact already, but had several of his own he’d like to share.
The two discussed events from millenia ago as though they were as familiar as yesterday’s news. Matt shared some of his discoveries with Sawyer, including the 72 million year old vertebrae of a megalodon, one of Sawyer’s favorite prehistoric animals. Sawyer carefully held the vertebrae; cradling a little bit of prehistory in his small hands, the childlike joy that had originally been hidden shone through.
During the course of their conversation, Matt revealed that every year new prehistoric species are discovered and more sites are scheduled for digging. So, he explained, there will be plenty left to discover by the time Sawyer’s old enough to be a paleontologist. By the time Matt left, Sawyer was glowing with new knowledge and the promise of a trip to the Museum of Natural History.
Types of Friendships