Mary Anning: Google doodle celebrates fossil collector and paleontologist's 215th birthday

 

Google has celebrated the 215th birthday of Mary Anning, the British fossil collector and paleontologist.

The image shows Anning brushing dirt away from a giant dinosaur skeleton that spells out ‘Google’, while her tools rest in a basket beside her.

Anning made some of the most significant geological discoveries of all time, including crocodile-like ichthyosaurs.

Anning was born to dissenters Richard Anning and Mary Moore in Lyme Regis, Dorset, on 21 May 1799. She and her brother Joseph were the only survivors among 10 children born to their parents. Anning was named after her sister who died in a house fire.

In August 1800, at just 15 months old, Anning was hit by a lightning strike that killed three other people - an incident that became part of local lore, and that was said to have turned her into a particularly bright child.

 

Anning was taught how to search for fossils by her carpenter father. In the summer, the pair would sell the specimens they collected to middle class holidaymakers from a stall on the seafront in Lyme.

After her father died in 1810, aged 44, Anning supplemented her family’s minuscule income by continuing to run the stall.

Her first major excavation came in 1811, when her brother Joseph found a skull in a cliff. Mary spent months excavating the creature’s bones, and discovered a ‘crocodile’, later named ichthyosaurs, ‘fish-lizard’.

The local lord of the manor, Henry Hoste Henley, sold the specimen to William Bullock for his Museum of Curiosities in London, bringing Anning to the attention of contemporary scientists.

Her fame was secured in 1820 when one of the family’s patrons auctioned specimens he had bought from the Annings - drawing interest in Anning from Britain and across Europe.

Despite her humble beginnings, Anning was literate and taught herself about geology and anatomy, and was recognised as an eminent figure, both by leading scientists and members of the public in her lifetime.

Later, Anning would go on to find more complete ichthyosaurs skeletons, a long-necked Plesiosaurus, and a Pterodactyl.

Anning died in 1847 from breast cancer, aged 47.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Design Apprentice

    £6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: .Net / SQL Developer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links