Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Mary Anning (21 May 1799 – 9 March 1847)

Today’s Google Doodle is one of my favourites, celebrating the life (or 215th birthday) of Mary Anning, a paleontologist who discovered many fossils along the Lyme Regis coast, including the first complete ichthyosaur skeleton (at age 12 after her brother found the skull) and the first plesiosaur.

Lyme Regis is just down the coast from where we used to live in Southampton and it really has a fantastic shoreline, part of the Jurassic Coast. We paid a visit with a friend in 2011 and although we did not find any ichthyosaurs or plesiosaurs, there were plenty of ammonites to be found in the rocks. It is very humbling to look at something that died tens to hundreds of million years ago and has been sitting in a rock since, waiting to be found.

I think that there was a cast of Mary Anning’s ichthyosaur at the Lyme Regis Museum, which is sited on her birthplace (or it might have been Dinosaurland fossil museum, which is in her old church). Well worth a visit if you find yourself near the Devon coast!

1 comment:

  1. Rich -I just wanted to leave you a message. I have reading your comments on a thread at Evolution is True. I have really appreciated their nuance and depth concerining science and religon; andwhat is and is not compatible. It has clarified my thinking. I think you could write something. Atheists without a religous background may not appreciate it, but there are plenty of agnostics that might get a lot out of it.


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