Mary Anning: Why a female paleontologist was forgotten by history

  ”I’m really angry, how can there be such a thing?” At the age of 9 years old, female student Ivy Swell realized for the first time that her hometown, Lyme Regis on the south coast of England, would be long ago. An outstanding person living here-Mary Anning was “forgotten”.
  An Ning was a pioneering paleontologist at the time. Her discovery changed our perception of the world. However, to a large extent, she was almost as if she had never existed before—even the place where she was born. There is no special memory of her.
  Ivey said that Anning seems to have been “disappeared in history, which makes me want to do something about it. And I really did it.”
  With the help of his mother, Annia Person, Ivey A crowdfunding fund was set up in 2018, attracting donations from all over the world-including children as far away as Ecuador donating their pocket money.

Mary Anning always takes her dog Trey

  In the next 3 years, Ivey’s “Mary Anning Rocks!” initiative fund raised more than 90,000 pounds ($122,000), and an artist was invited to create a statue. Looking out at the beach where tranquility has completed many wonderful discoveries.
Who is Mary Anning?

  It is no exaggeration to say that the fossils of Mary Anning brought revolutionary changes to earth science.
  Nowadays, she is often described as an ardent paleontologist and geologist, but in her time—she was born in 1799—she never could use that term to call herself.
  She was rejected by the scientific community. Those people refused to approve her ideas or invite her to scientific gatherings (the women at the time were not allowed to join), but they would gladly accept the results of her work and take away her detailed details. The explanation, and her excellent specimens, but did not give her fame.

A letter from Mary Anning that accurately describes her amazing discovery in 1823: the complete plesiosaur

Ivey said: Mary is very important to me and many of us

  The large number of papers, files and letters she wrote, as well as the detailed illustrations she drew, have never been published.
  When An Ning was a child, she was a poor girl with little formal education, but she discovered her first fossil when she was 12 years old; then she began to read, observe, and learn everything she knew through self-study.
  Almost every day, Anning will venture into the waves, carefully search the local beaches and cliffs with various petrified materials, and earn a meager livelihood by collecting, cleaning and sorting thousands of fossils.

Lyme Regis is located on the Jurassic Coast of the World Heritage Park, and its rich fossil geology has a history of 185 million years

  ”This is not someone who happened to discover something and became famous in one fell swoop,” said paleontologist Dr. Tori Heiliji. “She is a skilled scientist, she has good eyes, works very hard, and she is every day They all ran out.”
  ”She found a lot of fossils of brand-new species. She would run out after the winter storm. At this time, the collapse of the land would cause some new fossils to emerge, because she knew this was the important thing she could find. When there is new evidence,” Heliji said.
  An Ning will always take her dog Trey out, it will accompany her, and she feels that if a landslide occurs on the cliff and buries her in the mound, the dog can even help to find someone to save her life.
  Judging from the sketch of a puppy left in the blank space of her thesis paper, Mary Anning, who has lived alone for most of her life, must have loved her very much.
  When Trey died in a mudslide (1833), she almost died there in extreme sadness. She wrote a letter from the heart to her good friend Charlotte Mulchison
  ”Maybe when I said that when my old faithful dog died and made me sad, you would laugh,” she wrote, “that… the cliff that… collapsed on it and killed it, collapsed at my feet. … it almost made me face the same fate.”
  The breakthrough of tranquility came ten years before that. She was the first person to discover the complete skull of a prehistoric marine reptile plesiosaur. Her reputation among the “scientific men” quickly rose.
  Paleontologists in England and other parts of Europe will buy her valuable standard equipment at the lowest price, and then treat them as their own discoveries in academic circles, in museums in London, Paris, and Vienna.
  These fine specimens can still be seen in the Natural History Museums in London and Oxford today, including a 195 million-year-old ichthyosaur with prehistoric fish in its belly.
  An Ning is often frustrated that she has not been recognized by the academic circles: “The world has used me so ruthlessly, I am afraid it has made me doubt everyone,” she once wrote in a letter.
  After her death at the age of 47, the world certainly did not recognize her achievements-her name almost disappeared in history.
  Indeed, to this day, her name has not been recorded in the Royal Geographical Society, not even an honorary member.
Ivey’s efforts

  In 200 years, everything about Mary has not changed much, said Ivey, who just turned 13 years old, so it was easy to come up with the idea of ​​setting up a statue here to commemorate her.

  I am from Dorset, and Mary Anning is my hometown. I grew up listening to her story, and I often collect fossils myself, so Mary has always been a person I look up to, she said.
  But if you are a foreigner visiting Lyme Regis today, you will never know that she has been here except for the existence of Mary Anning in the local museum.

Anning likes to sketch her best friend in her notes

The tranquil ichthyosaur is shocking. No one knew before that these flat round pebbles were actually the vertebrae of giant marine reptiles.

  Some people live in Lyme Regis, live on Anning Road, but don’t know who Anning is. Ivey said that when you are not remembered, things are so ridiculous.
  Ivey believes that tranquility is an inspiration for young girls and those around the world who are not often heard.
  I love Mary because even though she was born in a time when women were disrespected and treated as objects, she still did what she wanted, Ivey said.
  She is also very poor. She is a working class and does not come from a rich family. This is another reason why I think she is cool. She has achieved so much on her own without any help.
  She didn’t let anything stop her from doing what she loved to do: discover new marine reptiles and try to understand them, Ivey said.
  Like her idol, Ivy decided to accomplish something, and asked her mother, Annia Persson, for help, and opened the “Mary Anning is awesome!”

There are currently plans to develop an application software that can take people to important places in Mary, such as Black Cliff
Ideas for the statue

  The public’s response to this initiative surprised Ivey, especially the children who participated: “I want to say thank you very much, because it is a very kind thing to donate your pocket money.”
  Despite her initiative now There are already some very famous donors, such as the naturalist Sir David Attenborough and the writer Tracy Chevallier (her book “Girl Looking for Fossils” tells the story of tranquility) And Hollywood actor Kate Winslet, who recently played Anning in the movie “Mad Love”) and so on, but Ivey’s most impressive was the small donors, including a school in Ecuador—they decided Wear Victorian costumes to commemorate the “Mary Anning Memorial Day”.
  Therefore, she hopes that the new statue will be “big and prominent, so that you will not be invisible when you pass by”-it will give Anning’s other fans around the world a chance to come to Lyme Regis and stand next to Anning. Looking at “her” beach is like Anning himself must have seen countless times.

No one can stop Anning from doing what she loves, Ivey said

  The final location has not yet been selected, “but she will be on a coastal dike somewhere, looking out,” Ivey said. It was a local mountain that was slowly pouring into the sea, and it gradually allowed the Jurassic treasures to emerge from the ground. “Most of her best fossils are found here.”
  For the design of the statue, Ivey’s mother Aniya organized an art event with the local school, “so that the children can participate in the process,” Ivey said.
  And she believes that one of the best suggestions in this process is that all the children insist that Trey, the peaceful dog, must also be in it: “Mary loves Trey very much. You can read from her letter, She often mentions it. If there is no Trey in the statue, it would be wrong.”

Children from Ecuador share their photos with the Marie Anning statue project

  The sculptor selected to be responsible for this project is Dinis Dutton. “We met 8 very good artists, and we talked to all of them,” Ivey said.
  We chose Dinis because she is very kind and she is really good at creating animals. We think she will do a good job with Mary and Trey! she says.
  Although the global pandemic of the epidemic has brought some delays, the “Mary Anning Rocks” (Mary Anning Statue) initiative has raised enough funds to allow the statue project to proceed, and the unveiling date is set: 2022 In May of 2005, it was Anning’s birthday.
  We hope everyone can resonate with Mary and see Lyme Regis as she sees, Persson said.
  From now on, all the money we raise will be used to cover the cost of the last statue, and will also be used to develop an application and interactive map that will allow Mary to walk into the future.
  I love Mary and her story very much, Ivey said. Because of this project, I understand that sometimes ideas are really difficult to start, and some things are very difficult, but there are many kind people who give a lot of help.
  Not only the girls, but the boys also love Mary very much, and really hope that this statue can be built. It’s really cool, Ivey said.

Share