A hunt without a kill 


Mary Anning showed there’s no barrier to age in scientific discoveries.


Mary Anning's Ichthyosaur.

Museum of Natural History

The specimen pictured above is of a juvenile 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) years old 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.

  1. https://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/anning.html
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