STL Science Center

STL Science Center

04 July 2014

Feminine Determination

Last week there seemed to be a varied response to a female scientist. That is okay all said and done, but there have been a lot of female paleontologists that have done a lot for the science. To discuss one that may be of more interest, or perhaps simply better known by the Western world, this week yet another, but much earlier, female paleontologist will be the topic of discussion. Born in 1799, Mary Anning was many things throughout her short life, she died in 1847, but she is mostly remembered as a prolific and influential collector of fossils. She discovered a number of fossils that were later partially used as evidence for extinction by Cuvier and included genera such as Temnodontosaurus (an ichthyosaur), Dimorphodon, and Plesiosaurus. She collected and sold fossils for the majority of her adult life. Her life was rather intriguing, however, and can not be summed up by merely looking at her fossil collecting prowess. Almost every image of her makes her appear as a quaint and proper English woman of her time, but there were many people in her time that thought it quite odd that a woman would be digging around for fossils or that one could become a "celebrated geologist."

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