Mary Anning (1799-1847)
Following a naming competition, the new research vessel was suggested by Alicia Laing , 3rd year Biology student, after an inspirational historical figure.
Mary Anning was an early British female fossil collector and palaeontologist. She spent her life working in Lyme Regis. Her skill in locating and preparing fossils, as well as the richness of the Jurassic era marine fossil beds at Lyme Regis, resulted in her making a number of important finds. These included the skeleton of the first ichthyosaur to be recognised and the first two plesiosaur skeletons ever found, the first pterosaur skeleton found outside of Germany, and some important fossil fish. Her observations also played a key role in the discovery that coprolites, known as bezoar stones at the time.
Anning's gender and social class prevented her from fully participating in the scientific community of early 19th century Britain, and she did not always receive full credit for her contributions. Despite this she became well known in geological circles in Britain and beyond, although she struggled financially for much of her life. After her death her enormous contribution to palaeontology was largely forgotten.
In 2010, 163 years after her death, the Royal Society named Anning as one of the top 10 British women to influence the history of science. Anning was also the basis of Terry Sullivan’s 1908 famous tongue twister ‘She sells seashells’.