Contact Us

The Real She Who Sold Seashells By the Seashore

186061647
Mypurgatoryyears/ThinkStock

We all grew up with Peter and his pickled peppers, Swiss wristwatches, and the many labors of the woodchuck. I just assumed these were phrases made up for giggling school children to enjoy and theatrical directors to use as diction exercises.  But, I just learned that “She” and her famous seashell business were real… and it’s a shame so few know her name.

Mary Anning was born in 1799 to a family that called the Jurassic Coast of Britain home. The cliffs provided the Annings with an advantageous and, certainly, odd hobby for the time; fossil collecting. This was at a time before the world had any real knowledge and understanding of prehistory. As far as anyone could fathom, remains of animals found were thought to be those of animals that had simply changed migration patterns and didn’t exist in that part of the world anymore. No one knew these beasts were extinct… or how ancient they were. So, along with her brother and father, Mary began collecting fossils along the cliffs and selling them on the beach to holiday visitors. When her father passed away, she took over the business, and began taking detailed notes and drawing pictures of her findings. Not only was she one of the first paleontologists, she was the first woman in the field. She is even credited with finding the very first ichthyosaur skeleton, and would later go on to discover the first plesiosaur.

Unfortunately, no one took her seriously when she was alive.  She was a woman, after all, and women had no place in science in the early 1800s. She was also young, uneducated, and from a poor background. Most of her findings ended up in museums, their discoverer nameless.

Although “Mary Anning sold fossils by the seashore” isn’t nearly as fun to say, you now know who “she” was.

I wonder what Peter Piper was really up to…

 

Best of WRKR

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://wrkr.com using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Rocker Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive Rocker Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.