Mary Anning was an English fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist who became known around the world for finds she made in Jurassic marine rocks in the cliffs along the English Channel at Lyme Regis in Dorset, England.
Her findings contributed to changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth.
Mary searched for fossils in the area’s Blue Lias and Charmouth Mudstone cliffs, particularly during the winter months when landslides exposed new fossils that had to be collected quickly before they were lost to the sea. Her discoveries included the first correctly identified ichthyosaur skeleton; the first two nearly complete plesiosaur skeletons; the first pterosaur skeleton located outside Germany; and various fish fossils. Her observations played a key role in the discovery of coprolites, known as bezoar stones at the time, were fossilised faeces, and she also discovered that belemnite fossils contained fossilised ink sacs like those of modern cephalopods.
As a Dissenter and a woman, Mary was not able to fully participate in the scientific community of 19th-century Britain, who were mostly Anglican gentlemen, and she struggled financially for much of her life. As a woman, she was not eligible to join the Geological Society of London and she did not always receive full credit for her scientific contributions. However her friend, geologist Henry De la Beche, painted Duria Antiquior, the first widely circulated pictorial representation of a scene from prehistoric life derived from fossil reconstructions, based it largely on fossils she had found, and sold prints of it for her benefit.
Mary became well known in geological circles not only in Britain but in Europe and America, and was consulted on issues of anatomy as well as about collecting fossils, but the only scientific writing of hers published in her lifetime, appeared in the Magazine of Natural History in 1839, an extract from a letter that Anning had written to the magazine’s editor questioning one of its claims.
After her death in 1847 from breast cancer, Mary’s unusual life story attracted increasing interest. Charles Dickens wrote an article about Anning’s life in February 1865 in his literary magazine All the Year Round.
In 2010 the Royal Society included Mary Anning in a list of the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science.
After Tuesday’s brilliant lecture about Greenland’s meltwater lakes, I found these images taken in 2012 on a flight between Ilullisat and Kangerlussuaq, on the west coast, so about 68° N. The big problem with photos like these is that it is impossible to work out the scale.
This project, launched on 12th January 2021, is inviting the public to help recover data from historic tide gauge ledgers from the North West of England and convert it into usable data by scientists.
The National Oceanography Centre’s (NOC) Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) dataset is used globally to study climate change and sea level rise by many organisations including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
NOC’s Head of PSMSL and Marine Data Manager, Elizabeth Bradshaw, is coordinating the project, and commented “Around 3 million people live near the coast in the UK, and with global sea level rising, we need long records to be able to investigate how local tides and sea level are changing. One way this can be done is by recovering data from old documents. In this project, we are trying to convert data from old tide gauge ledgers from two locations in the North West of England into data usable by scientists.”
The first ledgers, comprising of around 16000 pages, focus on two locations: George’s Pier in Liverpool, now the site of the Cunard Building, and Hilbre Island, a tidal island on the Wirral peninsula.
Earth Materials for a Sustainable and Thriving Society
Minerals and other Earth materials are a key component in the development of a sustainable global society, providing essential raw materials for technologies and economic growth while respecting the natural world.
This Lecture Series, sponsored by UNESCO, has been organised in collaboration with IUGS and iCRAG. The Series will boost knowledge of Earth materials and lectures will be delivered in webinar format by recognized global experts. Presentations will be framed in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Thursday 14th January 2021 Lecture: Hull Geological Society by Professor Patrick Boylan –‘NEW LIGHT ON THE NEANDERTHALS: MUSIC, ART, ROPE-MAKING, AND NOW A POSSIBLE LINK TO COVID-19’.
This Zoom lecture starts at 7.30pm. Anyone wishing to view this lecture must register in advance no later than 12th January with the HGS Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org For internet security reasons the Zoom connection address will not be emailed out to registered participants until the day of the lecture.
As you might know this is a joint project involving members of the LGS and the University of Liverpool. Before lockdown we had a very successful day at the Heritage Fair at Birkenhead Town Hall. Several local talks were also given. We have now established a mailing list for a wide range of people with interests in understanding the role of geology and geomorphology on the history and heritage of the area. We will shortly be launching an online noticeboard with ‘postcards’ pointing people at resources and hopefully developing displays that can be used at local scenic sites. We have already recruited a few new LGS members through this project, All LGS members are welcome to join in – to participate or just get emails. Please email email@example.com to start with. Future messages will be sent (Bcc) via firstname.lastname@example.org
Heswall U3A have 40 or more people waiting for the end of lockdown, so that they can set up a geology group Please would any LGS members who feel they could help out by offering basic topics or field trips, get in touch. You don’t need to be a professional geologist . If you have time and enthusiasm to share let us know to email@example.com and please give him permission to pass on your details to the local course organisers.