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

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Java Developer

    £30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there