Google Doodle Celebrates 215th Birthday of Mary Anning
By Ma Evelyn Castino Quilas | May 21, 2014 12:35 PM EST
Google doodle pays tribute to the 215th birthday of the British fossil collector Mary Anning by treating visitors to the search engine home page with a photo of the late collector working on an archaeology site with the remnants of the creatures arranging the letters of the word Google.
The doodle is visible at the search engine giant's home page for the countries in Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Indonesia, South Africa, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Romania, Iceland, South Korea, Libya, Poland, Spain, Egypt, India, Kenya, Ukraine, Iraq, Algeria, Serbia and Morocco.
According to University of California Museum of Paleontology, Mary Anning was one of the 10 children of Richard and Mary Anning. The family came from Lyme Regis located at the southern part of United Kingdom where the cliffs abound with remarkable fossils of the Jurassic period that were washed up from the seas. Mary's father was a cabinet maker who also mined the fossil beds near the town and sold them to the tourists. Unfortunately, Mary's father died early leaving the family in debt and privation that they relied mainly from aid to survive.
With their dire family situation, Mary received only little formal education from the Congregationalist Sunday school who taught her how to read and write. She was a very bright and intelligent girl and the contents from a book she received from the church probably took to her heart the passion. One of the contents of the book include a contribution from the local pastor James Wheaton that encouraged Christians to study geology.
At the age of 12, Mary and her brother unearthed a fossil of the ichthyosaur which was sold to a well-known fossil collector William Bullock. The fossil was later displayed in London and was used by the scientific community to determine the age of the earth, and its connections to the fossils and archaeology.
Mary also discovered the first plesiosaur which was first doubted in the scientific community. When the famous French anatomist Georges Cuvier approved the originality of the fossil, Mary became respected and legitimate fossil collector. However, little credit was given to her even though majority of her finds landed in museums and personal collections.
Despite being called as "the greatest fossilist the world ever know," Mary Anning's contributions only have limited documentations perhaps due to her gender and social status. Many paleontologists and scientific community know only very little to the woman who was considered as the greatest influencer and contributor to biology and science history.
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