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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > December 2018 > The Woman Who Hunted Dinosaurs

The Woman Who Hunted Dinosaurs

She was one of the greatest fossil hunters in the world, who became her own tourist attraction and was known to kings. Why then, asks Rebecca Wragg Sykes, is Mary Anning only now getting the recognition she deserves?
ALAMY X4, NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY X1, OXFORD UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY X1

Mary easily out beginning. Erupted Anning’s just have as over it been As was Lyme life a storm snuffed could Regis, members of an audience who had come to enjoy the spectacle of a travelling troupe of horse riders took shelter under a tree. The sky flashed to life as lightning coursed through the tree and the bodies of three women huddled beneath its branches, killing them instantly One of these women was holding her friend’s baby the infant Mary but somehow the babe in her arms miraculously survived.

With her hammer and beloved dog Tray, Mary Anning was an extremely prolific fossil hunter
A sketch, with notes, of Anning’s 1823 find

Throughout her life, Mary was quite extraordinary At a time when women’s acceptance by the scientific community was minimal at best, she was a pioneer in the science of palaeontology Her discoveries were breath-taking, and her approach to understanding the fossils she found was brilliant. She made her greatest discoveries before the word dinosaur had even been coined to describe the prehistoric beasts that roamed Earth millions of years ago. And yet through her work, by the time of her death at the age of just 47, our understanding of this prehistoric world was already beginning to take shape.

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About History Revealed

Fifty years ago, astronauts Frank Borman, Bill Anders and Jim Lovell became the first men to escape the clutches of Earth's gravity and journey to the Moon - and in doing so, stole a march on the Soviets in the Space Race. Discover how this mission, hatched amid setbacks and failures, and shaped by the wider tensions of the Cold War, gave the US something to hope for after the trauma of 1968. Plus: History's greatest coincidences, what happened to fallen French emperor Napoleon after the Battle of Waterloo, the value of Britain's battlefields, why King James VI and I was obsessed with witch hunting, and more.