An evening with Mary Anning – the 'Mother of Palaeontology'

A 30 minute talk by Dr Dean Lomax, followed by a 21 minute film by Natashia Mattocks.

The evening of 6th May 2020 at the Rex Cinema, Wareham, Dorset.

The talk:

Mary Anning – Palaeontologist Extraordinaire. Presented by Dr Dean Lomax (author of ‘Dinosaurs of the British Isles’).

One Line Synopsis

A celebration of the wonderful scientific contributions of one of the greatest palaeontologists that ever lived.

Longer Synopsis/Abstract

Lyme Regis is a small, coastal town in Dorset, England and a place synonymous with fossils and Mary Anning (1799–1847). Through her remarkable discoveries, from the first ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs brought to the attention of science, to the first British pterosaur and even fossilised faeces (coprolites), Miss Anning placed Lyme Regis, and at large Britain, on the world map for palaeontology. We are familiar with Mary’s story, that ‘she sold seashells by the seashore’, but how did she do this, why did she do it and what obstacles did she overcome? These aspects of her life are often overlooked or misconstrued. Not only was Mary a working class woman in late Georgian – early Victorian England but, among many other things, was even falsely accused of creating forgeries. Yet even to this day her discoveries continue to form the basis of scientific studies. Dean Lomax has spent the past decade studying ichthyosaurs, especially those collected by Mary, and they have revealed a wealth of new information. Mary was a fossil expert and critical thinker – a pioneering palaeontologist making waves on the southwest coast.


Dr Dean Lomax is a multi-award-winning palaeontologist, author and presenter. Travelling around the world, he works on many fascinating projects from excavating dinosaurs, to discovering and naming new species, and even winning the Gregor Mendel Gold Medal Award for excellence in science. Passionate about communicating palaeontology with the public, Dean appears regularly on television as an expert and presenter, including for the primetime series Dinosaur Britain. He has written several books, more than 40 academic papers and many popular articles and is a leading authority on ichthyosaurs. Dean is a Visiting Scientist at The University of Manchester, and a patron of both the UK Association of Fossil Hunters (UKAFH), and Mary Anning Rocks.

The Film:

Mary Anning – Short Film by Natashia Mattocks

View Trailer

One Line Synopsis

Set in 1830, Mary Anning tells the story of one of the UK’s first prolific fossil hunters and her quest to make ground-breaking scientific discoveries against all odds.

Longer Synopsis/Abstract

It’s 1830 and the scientific world is closed to women. Mary, a prolific but destitute fossil hunter has recently made another significant discovery on the Jurassic Coast. Fuelled by passion and frustration, she intensifies her work on the dangerous cliffs to seek the recognition she deserves. Based on real life events, Mary Anning is the story of one woman’s quest to make ground-breaking discoveries against all odds.