Lots of twelve-year olds are crazy about dinosaurs, and who can blame them? Dinosaurs are awesome. Rarely, however, does a twelve-year old come along who supports her entire family with her knowledge of dinosaurs, and then goes on to become one of the world's most influential fossil hunters. Mary Anning, the subject of this week's installment of Adventures in Feministory, did just that -- and more! Let's learn about her, shall we?
Born in 1799 in Lyme Regis on the Southern coast of England, Mary Anning started life off with a bang, literally. At fifteen months old, she was the sole survivor of a group of people that was struck by lightning. One of only two of her ten siblings that lived to maturity (yikes, England sucked in 1799), Anning took after her fossil-hunting father and was interested in dinosaurs beginning at a very young age. When he died in 1811 (see what I meant about England sucking back then?) twelve-year old Mary took over the Anning family bread-winning responsibilities by selling fossils she found in the cliffs near their home.
Did this plucky twelve-year old fossil hunter go on to discover the world's first full ichthyosaur and plesiosaur skeletons? Is she the subject of a famous tongue twister? The answers to these questions and more, after the jump!
For my turn at Adventures in Feministory, I wanted to give props to the creator of a character that inspired girls to keep spy notebooks and make their own tool belts. A character that was every bit as unladylike as she was fond of gossip. A character who was unapologetically loud and rocked jeans and sneakers everyday. I am, of course, talking about Louise Fitzhugh and (my personal hero) Harriet the Spy.