A Woman to Know: Mary Anning

The world has used me so unkindly, I fear it has made me suspicious of everyone. - Mary

Imagine walking with your dear dog and discovering the first plesiosaur skeleton ever, in the muddy banks of the English Channel. You're exploring your hometown of Dorset, England and finding ancient fish and plants and insects fossilized in the cliffs. Imagine encasing bones in cement to preserve them, as you piece together the skeletons of long-dead ichthyosaurs, pterodactyls and other dinosaurs. Decades from now, paleontologists will name new species they discover after you and your explorations.

But for now, imagine that you're a woman and it's 1835. And because of your sex, educational background and hometown, people assume you're stupid, even as droves of paleontologists descend on Dorset to follow your fossil wanderings and watch you at work. Imagine that all your findings are listed underneath manly, prestigious names as your own bank account flirts with zero pence. Also your dog dies in a landslide.


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