The Fossil Hunter


Context can be absent from many books. Many of us appreciate how Mary Anning was absent from history because she was an 11-year old girl when she discovered the first ichthyosaur . However, she was also poor. Kate Winter explains this significance, that a poor, ‘working class’ family, had no status or influence in nineteenth century. There were neither democratic rights nor representation.

Therefore, when Mary Anning’s hard work, chipping out ‘curios’ from the Lyme Regis cliffs, revealed rather more, other, significant, male presenters took the credit and often the proceeds. Although Mary’s efforts were to help her poor family, she was also fascinated and curious. She took notes, compared and observed, read, wondered and made significant discoveries….

Alongside Mary Anning’s biography, we’ve a chart of the Earth’s ages, through paleontological discoveries and scientific knowledge. What’s more there’s a social story here too that enables us to more fully appreciate the astonishing discoveries of Mary Anning.

The Fossil Hunter is an outstanding book, full of fascinating information, beautifully illustrated and presented. Altogether it is a book to fulfil and intrigue readers. Bookwagon recommends it highly to all dinosaur curious readers, at home, and school.

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The Fossil Hunter

Kate Winter

(Penguin Random House)

The Fossil Hunter tracks Mary Anning‘s history through her discoveries and our continuing understanding about The Beasts Beneath Our FeetThereafter, we begin in Lyme Regis, where Mary’s father excavates alongside her until his untimely death. It leaves Mary’s family penniless and forces Mary to sell the ‘curios‘ she unearths along the coast to Victorian collectors. However she is also learning and investigating, inspired by the works of Cuvier and more.
Thereafter, when she discovers an ichthyosaur, she is intrigued by its marine features. What’s more, digging through a winter ‘at the bottom of Black Ven Cliff, Mary unearth[s] ‘an almost complete skeleton of a plesiosaur‘. However, because of Mary’s gender, and class, we see how her hard work and superior understanding are overlooked. In fact, it’s taken years for Mary Anning’s effort, learning and skills to be realised. It seems that Mary played a pivotal role in revealing dinosaurs to the world.
Altogether with its biography, history and science information, The Fossil Hunter is quite a magnificent book. Bookwagon loves the way the author explains key paleontological facts, from the strata of evolution, to places of discovery, to their forms. Bookwagon recommends this outstanding book to readers, scholars, for homes and schools.


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