Saturday, 23 October 2010

She sells seashells

She survived a lightning strike as a child, and it's suggested that she inspired the tongue-twister "She sells sea shells" - but it was her prolific work on the Dorset beaches, known now as the 'Jurassic Coast', that earned Mary Anning her place in scientific history.

Her fossil discoveries 200 years ago near Lyme Regis - are being celebrated by the Royal Society, The Natural History Museum and the town's museum.

I recommend Tracy Chevalier's book 'Remarkable Creatures' for setting the record straight about Mary Anning's importance. As one reviewer said "You can find a short biography of Mary Anning at the Natural History Museum website, but what this novel does in fill in the gaps (with some imaginative license, of course). For example, while history records a Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas James Birch as a patron of the family, this novel puts a different spin on his relationship with Mary Anning. The interplay of fact and fiction makes for really interesting reading."