Talk: Mary Anning, The Fossil Woman by Tom Sharpe

Introduction: It has been said that more has been written about Mary Anning, the fossil dealer of Lyme Regis, than about any other geologist, apart from Charles Darwin. But how much do we really know? How much is speculation? And how much is myth that has developed through the uncritical telling and retelling of her tale over the course of two centuries? Are we seeing a new Anning myth in the making, thanks to a recent film? Separating the facts from the fictions about Mary Anning can be challenging, but her story is a remarkable tale in its own right. This talk will examine what we know of the life of this extraordinary woman, her famous – and less well-known – discoveries, and her part within the wider network of the developing science of palaeontology in the early nineteenth century, and will seek to dispel at least a few of the Mary myths.