Revisiting Mary Anning’s Remarkable Creatures

In a stroke of genius following a horrendous morning, I booked two days off work next week to coincide with half term. You might be wondering why the term “genius” might be applied to such an unremarkable event. I have managed to book Monday and Friday - meaning three day weekends - two of them - in a row.

Ok, so perhaps it’s not the act of a genius, but it’s pretty great. We’re planning on taking the children to London on at least one of the days to visit “The Monument” (the memorial to the Great Fire of London), and the Natural History Museum.

I’m expecting the kids will be more interested in the various stuffed animals in the Natural History museum, whereas I will once again get a chance to look at Mary Anning’s discoveries from the south coast of England - among the first dinosaurs ever discovered.

Did you know the rhyme “she sells sea shells by the sea shore” is about Mary Anning ?

I read a fascinating book a few years ago called “The Dinosaur Hunters”, by Deborah Cadbury - telling the story about the first discoveries, and the trouble it caused once people began to speculate what they were, and how old the strata of rock was that they were coming from.

The back-story provides a wonderful illustration of power and corruption to re-tell while in the Natural History Museum, because the results of the arguments over the years are visible to see. It took the best part of 130 years to move the statue of Charles Darwin from the corner of the tea room to it’s rightful position overlooking the great hall - such was the power of the church, and it’s influence over the Royal Society and it’s benefactors.