Monday, 8 August 2011

She sells sea shells on the sea shore

Inspired both by a forth coming holiday to Dorset and the fact my topic back at school in September is Dinosaurs, the girls have enjoyed reading 2 books about Mary Anning

Mary was born in Lyme Regis. She is said to have miraculously  survived a lightning strike as a baby. Her father, Richard, took Mary on fossil-hunting expeditions to make extra money for the family,They would sell these "curios" -  fossils with colourful local names like 'snake-stones' (ammonites), 'devil's fingers' (belemnites), and 'verteberries' (vertebrae).  Her first and one of her most important finds was in 1811, when Mary was just 12 years old; she found a complete ichthyosaur skeleton. As she continued to make important finds her reputation grew. On 10 December 1823, she found the first complete Plesiosarus and in 1828 the first British example of Pterosaurs.

 What is amazing to me is she had limited education and was a woman and yet became what one person called "the greatest fossilist the world ever knew".

Anyway today I found the fantastic Cambridge story teller Marion Leeper was at the Sedgwick museum telling Mary Anning's story so I booked to go. Miss I and G loved it and there was the just the right balance of sitting listening and then finding Mary's fossils in display cases to draw. The Sedgwick museum, whilst fascinating, isn't the most interactive whizzy child friendly museum in the world so this was a good way of bringing it to life for the children. I have booked to take them back next week for a story about Darwin!

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