Mary Anning at the N.H.M, London.

The Fossil Marine Reptile Gallery in London’s Natural History Museum is a true wonder. While examining some photos I took during a visit there, I came across the following discrepancy. You would think that by having Mary Anning‘s placard prominently displayed with this magnificent plesiosaur that she would have had a role in its discovery. It turns out that this particular plesiosaur, Rhomaleosaurus cramptoni, is a cast of the original fossil specimen now in the National Museum of Ireland. As Adam Stuart Smith of the Plesiosaur Directory points out (see commentary in the guest book), it was originally unearthed in 1848 in an alum quarry near Kettleness on the Yorkshire coast and it could not be one of Mary’s finds, as she died in 1847.Mary Anning’s fossil discoveries were found in the region of Lyme Regis in Dorset and can be seen on other areas of this wall of fossil specimens. (The ichthyosaur, Temnodontosaurus platyodon seen below is one of Anning’s finds). The Wikipedia entry for Mary Anning has an image which incorrectly attributes the discovery of this specimen of R. cramptoni to her, perhaps due to the placement of the placard.


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