Mary Anning


Mary Anning Born


Mary Anning is born in Lyme Regis in Dorest on 21 May 1799. She is born into a poor family.

Her father dies


Mary was too poor to go to school. She taught herself to read and write. She learned about rocks (geology) and how bodies are made (anatomy). Her father used to take his children to the beach to pick up shells and stones to sell to visitors. In 1810 her father dies falling from a cliff.

Mary finds her first fossil


Mary and Joseph are fossil hunting near a cliff. Joseph found a skull sticking out of a rock. Mary chipped it out with a hammer and uncovered a skeleton. It looked like a crocodile,she had found the first complets fossil. It was a ichthysaurus or fish lizard.

Mary finds many more fossils and opens a shop

1812 - 1821

Mary find more Ichthysaurus skeletons, and smaller fossils. Her rich friends helped her sell fossils and sent her money. She opened a shop to help her sell fossils shells and stones. She was a celebrity.

Mary finds Plesiosaurus


Mary finds a giant sea reptile -Plesiosaurus. She also finds some prehistoric fish.

Mary is credited with the discovery of specimens


She is credited with the discovery of specimens, purchased for the French National Museum.

Mary finds a Pterosaurus


Mary finds a Pterosaurus. This is the first time this has ever been found, apart from in Germany.

More major fossil finds

1829 - 1830

in 1829 Mary finds the Squaloraga and a better preserved Plesiosaurus. In 1830 a different species of Plesiosaurus, with a larger head.

Assists Louis Agassiz in his study of fossils


Marry assists Louis Agassiz in his study of fossils.

Mary dies


Marry dies aged 47 after a short illness. A stained glass window is put in her church in her honour. Her fossil discoveries helped scientists understand how life began. Charles Darwin explained how evolution works not long after Mary died.