History of Dinosaur Hunting

The Dinosaur Hunters

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Arthur Lakes Discovery

Mary Anning

>Mary Anning was born in 1799 in Lyme Regis, Dorset, and gained an interest in fossil collecting from her father, Richard.   She became a commercial fossil hunter who worked on the South Dorset Coast, although the interest in fossils was not what it is nowadays and so the market was not very rewarding, but Mary relied on it to keep her mother and her from poverty.

anning portrait.jpg

By the mid 1820s she was an established collector and took over the family fossil business.   She is renowned for the fossil dinosaur remains that she found, and is generally credited with the discovery of  Ichthyosaurus, which is neither a dinosaur, nor is strictly true.

She did, however, discover many fine skeletons of icthyosaurs and other creatures, and she remains credited with the first discovery of a Plesiosaur (again, not a dinosaur), which was endorsed by Cuvier and allowed the Annings to become recognised fossil hunters in the scientific community at large.   It is clear that Mary was knowledgeable in the scientific understanding of her finds also.

She had a very loyal dog who would sit and mark the spot of a find until Mary could return with others to help her dig out the remains.   Her dog was finally killed by a rockfall.    Mary herself died in 1847.