The particular specimen pictured above is of a juvenile of Ichthyosaurus anningae, named after none other than Mary Anning.
Anning was no ordinary palaeontologist. She made her first significant find when just 11 or 12 (details differ) when she discovered a complete skeleton of an Ichthyosaurus from the Jurassic period, which created a sensation and made her famous.
Anning’s passion for fossils came from her father’s interest in fossil hunting, and a need for the income derived from them to support her family after his death.
She lived and worked in the English town of Lyme Regis, unearthing and selling large fossils to noted palaeontologists of the day and smaller ones to the tourist trade.
In 1823, Anning discovered the first complete Plesiosaurus. Her discoveries became key pieces of evidence for extinction. Later in her life, the Geological Society of London granted her an honorary membership.
On this day, 9 March, in 1847, Mary Anning died at the age of 47.
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
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