A statue commemorating the life and work of the pioneering palaeontologist Mary Anning has been unveiled in her hometown of Lyme Regis. Mary Anning (1799 – 1847), made some remarkable fossil discoveries along Dorset’s “Jurassic Coast”, although during her lifetime, her contribution to the nascent sciences of geology and palaeontology was not fully recognised.

The statue, created by artist and sculptress Denise Dutton, is placed on the seafront close to the sea defences, permitting Mary a view of Lyme Bay and the cliffs and shoreline that she explored with her brother Joseph as a child. During her lifetime she made several highly significant fossil discoveries in the Lower Jurassic marine beds, including the first ichthyosaur specimens to be scientifically studied, plesiosaurs and the first pterosaur fossil to be found outside Germany.

The unveiling of the Mary Anning statue at Lyme Regis (Dorset)
The statue commemorating the life and work of Mary Anning is unveiled. Picture credit: Mary Anning Rocks

Mary Anning Rocks

Young Evie Swire was the inspiration behind the charity Mary Anning Rocks, when she enquired on returning from a fossil hunting trip at Lyme Regis “why isn’t there a statue to Mary?” A fund-raising campaign was organised and on what would have been Mary’s 223rd birthday, Evie, now a teenager and her fellow campaigners unveiled the beautiful statue commemorating a key figure in the history of the Earth Sciences.

Mary Anning statue unveiled at Lyme Regis
Crowds flocked to see the new statue of Mary Anning unveiled, some people even dressed up like Mary. Picture credit: Mary Anning Rocks.

Supporting and Celebrating the Role of Women in the Sciences

Everything Dinosaur was one of the first organisations from outside Lyme Regis to back the campaign and to help raise awareness. Since the charity’s inception, Everything Dinosaur has helped to promote and support the fundraising.

Mary Anning’s discoveries in the 19th Century helped shape scientific understanding of prehistoric life, but her work was never properly credited due to the fact that she was a woman and because of her lowly social status. A large crowd turned out for the unveiling, and team members at Everything Dinosaur are looking forward to one day soon returning to Lyme Regis and paying our respects to Mary Anning and her statue.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We did so want to be there at the unveiling. The statue of Mary is not only a tribute to her, but it also helps to raise awareness of and celebrate the role of women in the sciences.”

Mary Anning Statue Unveiled
A close view of the statue of Mary Anning which was created by leading artist and sculptress Denise Dutton. Mary is holding an ammonite fossil in her left hand. Picture credit: Mary Anning Rocks.

Anya Pearson one of the hard-working trustees of the Mary Anning Rocks charity exclaimed:

“It was a monumental day for a monumental Woman – At last!!!”

Our congratulations to all those people who have worked so hard to ensure that Mary Anning can be honoured in this way.