She Sells Sea Shells

“British comedian Milton Jones tells this one-liner: It’s difficult to say what my wife does for a living. She sells sea shells on the sea shore. However, the famous tongue-twister actually refers to a young woman who never married. Mary Anning was born in 1799 to Richard, an impoverished furniture maker, and his wife, Molly, in Lyme Regis, England. This coastal town is now famous for its discoveries of dinosaur fossils, discoveries that began with Mary. Richard would take the young Mary and her older brother Joseph out on to the cliffs and the beach looking for fossils, and they would sell these to visitors. The teenagers discovered what would later be named the ichthyosaur, and this was the first of many discoveries made by Mary. One biographer of Anning has stated that her many discoveries of so-called prehistoric animals paved the way for Darwinism. Mary was mostly self-taught, having learned to read and write only in Sunday School. Nevertheless, her extensive knowledge of her finds did not cause her to lose her faith, despite her many hardships. She was not allowed to join the Geological Society because she was a woman and also because she and her family were members of a Dissenting Chapel, not the Church of England. It is of note that her most prized possession was a volume of the Dissenters’ Theological Magazine and Review. Her pastor, James Wheaton, had contributed two articles to this journal. One urged his flock to get interested in geology. The other emphatically taught the biblical truth that God had made the world in six literal 24-hour days. Author: Paul F. Taylor. Ref: Encyclopedia Britannica, biography/Mary-Anning, accessed 7/25/2017.”, Sep. 20, 2022