In 1799, Mary Anning was born in Dorset, England, an area known for its Lyme cliffs dated back hundreds of thousands of years. Strolling her nearby cliffs, Anning became one of the preeminent fossil collectors, sellers, and identifiers in the world. Today, her life is celebrated by a Google Doodle to commemorate her 215th birthday.
Here is what you need to know:
1. She is Credited With Finding the First Identifiable Icthyosaur Fossil at 12
Anning and her father used to take strolls along the cliffs and look at fossils, but after her father died, she and her brother would sell the found fossils to gain income for the family. Their father died in 1810.
One of the biggest finds of her life came during this time. One day while she and her brother were hunting for fossils along the cliffs, she discovered one of the first identifiable fossils os and ichthyosaur, the large Jurassic sea creature that you can see above.
2. She Gained Respect Despite Not Having a Formal Education
Although Anning never received any formal education in Paleontology, Berkley University writes that she was known to be able to identify almost any bone she came across. Most of her mainstream acclaim came after she found the first specimen of a plesiosaur in the world. When a notable French scientist doubted her claims, Anning forced him to talk back his critic when he finally arrived in Dorest to see the fossil.