13 January—30 April 2024

Making Waves: Mary Anning and her astonishing ichthyosaur

Mary Anning (1799-1847) was an inspirational early palaeontologist who is celebrated today for her amazing fossil finds. Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is excited to be putting a very special fossil on permanent display, possibly her second significant find.

This will be joined by a small artist’s model of a statue of Mary made by sculptor Denise Dutton from 13 January to 30 April 2024, as part of the Mary Anning Rocks! UK tour. Check the website for talks, gallery tours and events.

More about Mary…

When she was 14 years old, Mary Anning discovered an incredible fossil skull. It belonged to a Temnodontosaurus, a type of ichthyosaur that lived in the Early Jurassic around 190 million years ago. This fossil has recently been expertly conserved to go on permanent display at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. This fossil 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 in 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. Despite her ground-breaking contributions to science, Mary has not always received the recognition she deserved as a woman from a working-class background. To help celebrate Mary’s amazing achievements, a model based on her statue has been on a UK tour. Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is excited to welcome Mary to Bristol from Saturday 13 January to Tuesday 30 April 2024.

Come and meet Mary (and her faithful dog Tray) and explore her incredible Temnodontosaurus fossil find.

Learning events


mary anning rocks logo

Mary Anning series