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Who was Mary Anning?

This afternoon, we discovered some items that had appeared in our classroom. A bonnet, a rock hammer, a brush and some strange looking rocks that Carys identified as fossils. But how did they all link? What was a fossil? 
We then found a photograph of a lady. Lucy remembered that Mrs Mascall said that when she was born photographs could only be printed in black and white. Elodie said the picture of the lady was a painting. We realised that this lady must have been born a very, very long time ago as they didn’t have any photographs of her, probably because cameras hadn’t been invented. 
The lady’s name was Mary Anning. She was an English fossil collector, a palaeontologist. She lived in the seaside town of Lyme Regis and absolutely loved walking along the beach with her father. One day they found some strange looking rocks and her father told her that they were actually fossils. Mary’s father taught her how to carefully extract the fossils from the rock using tools such as a rock hammer. We learnt that fossils are the remains of plants and animals that lived a very, very long time ago. They are incredibly useful to scientists as they can identify what kinds of animals once lived on our planet. Sadly, Mary‘s father died but this just encouraged her to keep on searching for fossils. Mary Anning was the first person to discover the Ichthyosaurs, Plesiosaur and Pterosaur skeleton. Her findings helped scientists around the world to discover more about the prehistoric life on planet earth. 
This afternoon, we became palaeontologists and searched for fossils within the sand and playdough, pieced back together skeleton remains of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, explored a combination of real fossils and rocks, as well as making our own fossils out of salt dough (individual photographs to come!). 
We looked at our knowledge organiser and discussed how the children can teach you about Mary Anning at home. I hope they do! 

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