20 March 2024

Lunchtime talks: Making waves: Mary Anning and her astonishing ichthyosaur

Can you imagine finding a huge and incredible fossil?

Mary Anning (1799-1847) was an inspirational early palaeontologist who is celebrated for her amazing fossil finds. She discovered a very special fossil when she was just fourteen years old that is the focus of our new display.

This incredible fossil skull belonged to a Temnodontosaurus, a type of ichthyosaur that lived in the Early Jurassic period around 190 million years ago.

The fossil has recently been conserved to go on permanent display at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. It has some surprises to share and tells a story of life and peril in the Jurassic seas. Mary’s Temnodontosaurus has also been brought back to life for the new display through artwork based on the latest scientific information.

In 2022 Mary’s hometown, Lyme Regis, finally got a permanent monument to honour her thanks to the ‘Mary Anning Rocks!’ campaign.  To help celebrate Mary’s amazing achievements, a small model made by the artist Denise Dutton, based on this statue, is on a UK tour.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is excited to host the model of Mary from 13 Jan – 30 April 2024.

Join our Geology Curator for a talk about Mary Anning’s discovery and to welcome the model. This talk will also look at Mary’s connections with the Bristol Institution, the forerunner to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, established over 200 years ago.


Deborah Hutchinson, Geology Curator

Lunchtime talks

Designed to fit around your lunch hour, our lunchtime talks are usually monthly and explore a selection of treasures from our exhibitions and collections. 

Additional information

This talk was first given on 17 January 2024.