Mary Anning Weekend Approaches

The contribution to Earth science by the remarkable Georgian fossil collector Mary Anning is being celebrated in a weekend of special events at the end of September.  The pioneering English fossil collector and amateur palaeontologist  Mary was born in the small, seaside town of Lyme Regis (Dorset) an area of Britain’s coast famous for its Jurassic sediments and fossils of marine animals (and pterosaurs plus one dinosaur genus) as well as a whole host of prehistoric fish.

Mary Anning

The Grave of Mary Anning at St Michael’s Church Lyme Regis

Mary Anning's grave.

Mary Anning’s grave at St Michael’s Church on the hill overlooking Lyme Regis.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Her father was a carpenter by trade, although he supplemented the family’s income by also selling curios (fossils) that they had found on the beach and in the cliffs that surround Lyme Regis.  Mary became prominent as an expert in fossils and fossil finding, although she did not receive the full credit for her contribution to science during her lifetime.  She discovered the first plesiosaur fossils in 1821 and the first Pterodactyl (flying reptile) fossils in England in 1828.  Many of her specimens can be seen in museums today, her finds helped to build up the collections of a number of wealthy individuals but often no record was kept of her contribution or role in the research and study of such specimens.

The Lyme Regis Museum

The Lyme Regis Museum, (Bridge Street, Lyme Regis), is planning a weekend of events (Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September), to celebrate the work of the town’s most famous former resident and the focus will be on walks and talks with the chance to see some of the remarkable fossil fish that have been found on the Jurassic coast.

On Saturday 29th September, from 10am, the Lyme Regis museum will be displaying some of the amazing prehistoric fish fossils that have been found in the area.  Have a wander around the ground floor gallery and take a look at the bizarre  creatures that shared the Jurassic seas with giant marine reptiles.  There’s even a chance to get involved with artist Darrell Wakelam setting out to make a giant prehistoric fish sculpture.

Amazing Jurassic Fish Fossils on Display

Meet your Next of Fin!

Picture credit: Lyme Regis Museum

For models and replicas of prehistoric fish and other extinct animals: Mojo Fun Prehistoric Life Models.

Our chums Paddy, Chris and Brandon will be demonstrating ammonite polishing outside the museum from 11am (Saturday and Sunday).  Have a go and get the chance to take home your very own 190 million year old souvenir, for just a few pounds.

There will also be a series of talks given by leading scientists in the nearby Marine Theatre over the weekend.  If you have ever wanted to learn more about extinct species of ray-finned fish, now’s your chance.

Local experts will be on hand to take parties onto the beaches for a guided tour of the areas fossils and you might find one or two examples of Jurassic life yourself.

All in all, a fun weekend is planned, celebrating the diversity of vertebrate fauna that is to be found along this coast with its World Heritage status and commemorating the contribution to science made by a remarkable 19th Century amateur palaeontologist.

To catch up with Brandon Lennon on a fossil walk: Lyme Regis Fossil Walks.