Mary Anning (1799 – 1847) is known for discovering ichthyosaurus and plesiosaurus skeletons in the cliffs of Dorset, England. She and the Jurassic fossils she uncovered changed science and the dialogue explaining the history of the earth. Despite being self taught in geology, paleontology, anatomy and scientific illustration, the academic community sought her out:
“...she has made herself so thoroughly acquainted with the science that the moment she finds any bones she knows to what tribe they belong. She fixes the bones on a frame with cement and then makes drawings and has them engraved... It is certainly a wonderful instance of divine favour - that this poor, ignorant girl should be so blessed, for by reading and application she has arrived to that degree of knowledge as to be in the habit of writing and talking with professors and other clever men on the subject, and they all acknowledge that she understands more of the science than anyone else in this kingdom.”
- Lady Harriet Silvester, 1824.
Painting by B. J. Donne @Natural_History_Museum