The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World

The Fossil Hunter Dinosaurs Evolution and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World Mary Anning was only twelve years old when in she discovered the first dinosaur skeleton of an ichthyosaur while fossil hunting on the cliffs of Lyme Regis England Until Mary s incredible disc

  • Title: The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World
  • Author: Shelley Emling
  • ISBN: 9780230611566
  • Page: 287
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Mary Anning was only twelve years old when, in 1811, she discovered the first dinosaur skeleton of an ichthyosaur while fossil hunting on the cliffs of Lyme Regis, England Until Mary s incredible discovery, it was widely believed that animals did not become extinct The child of a poor family, Mary became a fossil hunter, inspiring the tongue twister, She Sells Sea SheMary Anning was only twelve years old when, in 1811, she discovered the first dinosaur skeleton of an ichthyosaur while fossil hunting on the cliffs of Lyme Regis, England Until Mary s incredible discovery, it was widely believed that animals did not become extinct The child of a poor family, Mary became a fossil hunter, inspiring the tongue twister, She Sells Sea Shells by the Seashore She attracted the attention of fossil collectors and eventually the scientific world Once news of the fossils reached the halls of academia, it became impossible to ignore the truth Mary s peculiar finds helped lay the groundwork for Charles Darwin s theory of evolution, laid out in his On the Origin of Species Darwin drew on Mary s fossilized creatures as irrefutable evidence that life in the past was nothing like life in the present.A story worthy of Dickens, The Fossil Hunter chronicles the life of this young girl, with dirt under her fingernails and not a shilling to buy dinner, who became a world renowned paleontologist Dickens himself said of Mary The carpenter s daughter has won a name for herself, and deserved to win it Here at last, Shelley Emling returns Mary Anning, of whom Stephen J Gould remarked, is probably the most important unsung or inadequately sung collecting force in the history of paleontology, to her deserved place in history.

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      Posted by:Shelley Emling
      Published :2019-06-12T20:41:51+00:00

    About " Shelley Emling "

  • Shelley Emling

    Shelley Emling has been a journalist for 20 years She was born in Missouri Later she grew up in Dallas, Texas She went to the University of Texas and started her journalism career at UPI.Shelley is the author of two books Your Guide to Retiring in Mexico, and most recently, The Fossil Hunter, published by Macmillan in 2009 about paleontologist Mary Anning, whom Shelley had learned of while on a holiday in England 1 The Fossil Hunter was criticised by the New York Times for having moved away from the central narrative too often, but the reviewer nevertheless noted the ample footnotes, which put the subject s work into the scientific and sociological context 2 Nature, however, felt that Emling s diligent work was thorough and complete than Tracy Chevalier s fictional account of Anning s life, Remarkable Creatures, which was released the same year although the reviewer notes that the freedom of the fictionalised account proved to be engaging 3

  • 295 Comments

  • Rhomaleosaurus cramptoni - dug up by Mary Anning. The Natural History Museum, London.This is an extremely readable biography of a little known fossil-collector called Mary Anning. She lived in the first half of the nineteenth century, in the seaside town of Lyme Regis, on the south coast of England.She was an extraordinary woman. She came from a humble background with just minimal schooling, yet she ended up being one of our leading experts in fossil hunting and palaeontology. In the beginning a [...]


  • I recently read Tracy Chevalier’s newest book Remarkable Creatures, the story of Mary Anning, a woman I had never heard of but is getting the attention she so richly deserved. I enjoyed Remarkable Creatures so much I was very happy to learn of this biography of her life. For anyone who doesn’t normally like nonfiction I would recommend this book, it is written in a very accessible style and the story is so astonishing it reads like fiction. Emling has written a book that I found easy to read [...]


  • The story of Mary Anning is definitely one that needs to be known as she was an integral part of our understanding of the earth's history but while this book helps to bring her story forward, it's not the best written story. I find it distracting to read "she most likely" or "she probably". I know we can't possibly know for certain what someone did and said but I prefer my non-fiction to read more like a story and not possibilities. Despite this, the story of Mary Anning is very interesting and [...]


  • In 1999, the two hundredth birthday of Mary Anning, "the first woman geologist", was marked with a modest celebratory event in the small Philpot Museum in her home town, Lyme Regis, on England's southern shore. It led, eventually, to renewed interest in the life and time of this unique young woman, who despite being of the poorest background and without formal education, contributed in the most extraordinary way to the advancement of science and understanding of life on earth. Shelley Emling, re [...]


  • I am so so interested in Mary Anning but I can't go on with this book. The author has a severe bias against religion in general and Christianity specifically. The writing drove me crazy--she hardly tells us what Mary did, instead she states what Mary "likely did" or "would have felt." Those two phrases are used on almost every stinking page.


  • This is a book about Mary Anning. What?!? You’ve never heard of her? But she discovered the first ichthyosaur; the first plesiosaur, too. She was well-known throughout Europe in the early 1800’s. In fact, Charles Dickens himself wrote an article about her. The tongue-twister, “She sells sea-shells by the sea-shore” was inspired by her.Still doesn’t ring a bell? Well, no surprise there. I’d never heard of her, and I’m into this sort of stuff. It’s a pity that the woman who made so [...]


  • Despite a few narrative flaws, this is an absolutely fascinating story of a young woman doesn’t get the social or scientific recognition she deserves. Coming in, I knew just enough about Mary Anning to want to know more. I knew she was the subject of Tracy Chevalier's Remarkable Creatures(which is next on my reading list), but I wanted to start with something more straightforwardly biographical, before moving into the novelised version of her life.Since I don’t want them to be the focus of m [...]


  • This biography of the woman who unearthed the first Ichthyosaurus is both a deeply moving personal story of the overcoming of poverty and illiteracy and a fascinating history of the period immediately preceding Darwin’s Origin of Species. Mary Anning of Lyme Regis, England laid the groundwork for the theory of evolution by her relentless efforts to chisel fossils out of the chalk cliffs of Southern England. Pushed by the need to earn a living from the sale of fossils and spurred on by the stea [...]


  • "The fossil Hunter" explores the life of Mary Anning, a lower-class woman from the south of England who changed paleontology with her numerous and spectacular fossil finds. One of the main themes of the book, and Mary Anning's life, was her relationship with many of the professional paleontologists of England, who were invariably well-educated and rich. Many of these paleontologists respected Mary as a skilled and knowledgable fossil hunter and paleontologist. However, they never gave her credit [...]



  • Mary Anning was born in 1799 in Lyme Regis, England. She and her father would walk along the short and hunt for fossils. When she was 12, she discovered an entire dinosaur skeleton, the first one (or one of the first)! They weren’t yet called dinosaurs, but she continued to hunt for fossils throughout her life (to sell them so she could support her mother and brother after her father died). She was mostly not recognized for everything she’d done, as she was a woman. It was a time when evolut [...]


  • I like the real world version of a science minded Lizzie Bennett better than the fictional one. Plus, in this version, Mr Darcy is a fossilized sea reptile, so much more plausible.


  • This book tells the fascinating story of Mary Anning, a woman who made several important early fossil finds of dinosaurs and other creatures on the southern coast of England in the early to mid 1800s. Mary had just a few years' formal education and was largely a self-made paleontologist - however, because of her status as a woman (and as a very poor woman, even), she both never received the recognition she deserved nor her due place alongside her male contemporaries in the science world. As a wo [...]


  • A fascinating book that sheds light on the inspirational story of Mary Anning, an uneducated, working-class woman born in 1799, who is considered one of the most important paleontologists that you’ve never heard of. Anning made many important discoveries on the southern coast of England in the early to mid 1800s. I found the first half of this book to be a breeze, Mary Anning’s life story is quite the anomaly and worth learning about. Emling engages the reader with a readable beginning, as s [...]


  • I have wanted to read this book for some time. I was not disappointed! If you've read Tracy Chevalier's Remarkable Creatures (which I have, and loved), you should really enjoy this non-fictionalized version of the story of Mary Anning's life and work. This woman from a very humble background spent her life digging through the treacherous cliffs of Lyme Regis, England, searching for fossils. Though she made many important discoveries, surpassing those of most of her male colleagues, little credit [...]


  • A good and accessible read about a woman who should be better known. There are limited sources to draw on for Mary Anning's life but the book uses more general information about the period, in addition to what is known, to build a good picture. Anning would continue to be overlooked as she was in her lifetime if this approach was not taken, given that she left virtually no writings of her own (her lower class background and lack of formal education contributed to this). If you enjoyed Tracey Che [...]



  • This story of Anning is excellent, although I felt the author presented too much of a science versus religion context to the book. This biography highlights not only the discoveries of Mary Anning, but also the effort she put in to clean, repair, sort, and label fossils. She began her work with fossils as a young child. As an adult, she was so knowledgeable about fossils from the Jurassic Period, that she could look at a single bone and determine what species it was from. Geologists and Paleonto [...]


  • I picked this up on a whim in the library. I'm keen to learn more about women from history and although I couldn't find the actual book I was looking for I felt this was a good alternative.There is a huge amount of information in this book and whilst I now feel better informed about prehistoric aquatic creaures and the lives of many of the men who studied geology & fossils in the early 19th century I don't feel I know huge amounts about Mary Anning. To be fair this is likely to be because ve [...]


  • Let me start by saying that I've never finished a biography before. I always end up getting lost in all the names of acquaintances and dates, or I end up getting bored. But Shelley Emling had me from the start and I quickly finished the book in 2 days!Before this, I've never heard of Mary Anning and after finishing this, I'm angered that I've never once heard of her when I went to school to actually study biology. Throughout this book, I felt disappointed, sad, and encouraged by this young woman [...]


  • I've finished it, but I don't think much of it. The author is focusing on telling a good story in lieu of a factual one, and takes to filling in the gaps of our knowledge with supposition. I'd say about 70% of the book is preceded with the words 'she might have', 'she probably', 'she would have', or one of its ilk, and there's great deal of going on about what Mary's emotions or thought process 'must' have been like at any given event, and often those verdicts flip flop about and conjure up emot [...]



  • I did enjoy this book, and I loved the premise.For the most part, the book was interesting and engaging and taught me things I didn't know about palaeontology. However I did have issues with certain things.I would have enjoyed it if it was in more of a story structure, as I found myself skipping entire sections of raw information about someone's theories on rocks or evolution or extinction, which I found to be sort of boring after a time. It felt like I was reading a textbook at times, which was [...]


  • Mary Anning is is a woman who deserves to be known more widely than she is. Unfortunately, I do not think this is the book to bring her attention and recognition. Emling has an enjoyable and easy to read style of writing but the problem for me was the speculative nature of the text. As a non-fiction biography/history, I found it problematic to read, sometimes times on a single page, "she would of", "she surely", "she might have", "she possibly". The passive nature of these phrases is troubling. [...]


  • Exceptionally readable; I got through it in one day, partly because it is very well-written and partly because I was utterly captivated by Mary Anning's life and couldn't wait to discover what happened next. As a lifelong armchair lover of dinosaurs, I had heard of Anning before--but only in the context of her discovery of an ichthyosaur at age 12; previously all info I came across about her made it sound like that discovery was a fluke and that Anning made no significant contributions to paleon [...]


  • It had such promise: little known story of Mary Anning, a very early female fossil hunter in England in the early 1800s. I read only about 30%, but I was just too mad/disappointed to continue. I don't need to repeatedly read how poor she was, the first 5 times were enough. I know there aren't many colorful facts from that time period surviving, but don't fill up space with imagination about environment: we don't know what the house looked like but it might have had green shutters??? And I was re [...]


  • A fun and quick biography of a fascinating subject: Mary Anning, who discovered some of the most important (and first) ancient sauropsid skeletons, including the first ichthyosaur and the first plesiosaur, but who went largely unrecognized (and sometimes unrewarded) because of her sex and her class.Unlike the last historical biography I read with not enough explicit evidence about its subject, The Fossil Hunter did not ramble into tangents about other people, thank goodness, which kept it focuse [...]


  • I chose to read a non-fiction biography of Mary Anning's life prior to reading Tracy Chevalier's novelisation Remarkable Creatures. However, it's already apparent this isn't a "hard" biography - rife with phrases like "perhaps" and "probably". The author also makes what seem to be unsubstantiated emotional statements. However, this was on the recommended reading list for my History of Geology course, so my professor must have seen value in the facts as presented.As a Jane Austen fan, I've of cou [...]


  • In the early 1800s, an amateur fossil hunter named Mary Anning made huge contributions to the nascent field of paleontology. Scouring the seaside cliffs of Lyme Regis in England, she made one discovery after another that inaugurated our knowledge of dinosaurs and other prehistoric life. (Among other things, she discovered the first icthyosaur, the first plesiosaur and one of the first pterosaurs.)Anning's discoveries were critical to our understanding of extinction, and laid the groundwork for t [...]


  • Introducing Exhibit A in "Reasons why AJ doesn't read historic biographies anymore."This book spends far too much time speculating about Mary Anning's early life before her rise to fame as a fossil hunter. Rather than just presenting the facts in a concise matter and then moving on to the better-documented (and more interesting) portions of her life, there's a lot of conjecture, a lot of "surely she must have thought"I have no patience for biographies that want to read like fiction. Either write [...]


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