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This Author: Shelley Emling
This Narrator: Rachael Beresford
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The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling

The Fossil Hunter

Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World

by Shelley Emling

Title Details

Unabridged Edition
Running Time
9 Hrs. 5 Min.


Mary Anning was only 12 years old when, in 1811, she discovered the first dinosaur skeleton - of an ichthyosaur - while fossil hunting on the cliffs of Lyme Regis, England. Until Mary's incredible discovery, it was widely believed that animals did not become extinct. The child of a poor family, Mary became a fossil hunter, inspiring the tongue-twister "she sells seashells by the seashore". She attracted the attention of fossil collectors and eventually the scientific world. Once news of the fossils reached the halls of academia, it became impossible to ignore the truth. Mary's peculiar finds helped lay the groundwork for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, laid out in his On the Origin of Species. Darwin drew on Mary's fossilized creatures as irrefutable evidence that life in the past was nothing like life in the present.

A story worthy of Dickens, The Fossil Hunter chronicles the life of this young girl, who became a world-renowned paleontologist. Dickens himself said of Mary, "The carpenter's daughter has won a name for herself, and deserved to win it."

Here at last, Shelley Emling returns Mary Anning - who, Stephen J. Gould remarked, is "probably the most important unsung (or inadequately sung) collecting force in the history of paleontology" - to her deserved place in history.

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