Mary Anning

This Evolution Talk podcast can be listened to on-line at ET Podcast: Mary Anning, where it is the second episode from the top of the list.


  • born 1799 in Lyme Regis, on the Jurassic Coast
  • explored local Blue Lias cliffs
  • found head, then skeleton of Ichthysaurus platyodon, sold to collector
  • family supplemented father's incoming by selling small fossils, like ammonites
  • later found entire skeleton of Plesiosaurus macrocephalus
  • good at drawing; many of her letters and sketches survive
  • set up Anning's Fossil Depot
  • nearly killed by landslip which buried her dog close to her feet
  • discovered a pterosaur (Dimorphodon macronis) skeleton
  • Refused membership by Geological Society of London, who only recognised men
  • After a bad investment, William Buckland got her a small state pension
  • died of breast cancer at age of 47, buried in Lyme churchyard
  • Geological Society belatedly funded a stained glass window featuring her endeavours
  • Many well-known scientists used her finds, including de la Beche (of unconformity fame)

Further information
Mary Anning info - biography [Wikipedia]
Lyme Regis info - description [Wikipedia]
Jurassic Coast info - description [Wikipedia]