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        Friday, March 09, 2007
        In my daughter's eyes
        Every year at International Women's Day, I feel a sting of guilt if I don't say something about the plight of women... being a woman and all. This year I convinced myself that other people are doing something concrete therefore I didn't have to give it lip (blog) service. That's until my 9 year old daughter asked me to edit her article on Famous Women.

        The article is about Mary Anning, a British fossil collector and paleontologist. My daughter picked her because, like Mary, my daughter "is going to be a paleontologists" and because she liked Mary's "guts to stand up for what she believed in." I was really touched. So, here is a dedication for my daughters wishing them all the strength in the world to stand up against the .... that society may throw at them for being girls.

        Here is the article in all it's glory...

        Have you ever thought of becoming a fossil hunter? Mary Anning did. She was born in 1799. She looked for fossils in Lyme Regis, England near a cliff. Mary's father taught her how to find and take out fossils. Mary Anning was known to be strange because in the 1800's most people thought girls shouldn't learn about fossils. They didn't think girls should learn about science at all.

        When Mary was eleven, her father was hurt. He fell down a cliff on the way to a near by town. He was already sick at that time. In October, he died. It was the biggest obstacle in the Annings life.

        After he died, the Annings needed money badly. They haven't found any large fossils for almost a year. In 1811, Joseph, Mary's brother, found a skull. It had a long snout like a crocodile and sharp teeth.

        About a year later, Mary found the rest of the fossil. She sold it to a group of men. It was a complete fossil that lived in the sea! The men donated it to a museum. In those days, the museum didn't give credit to the people that found the fossil. They gave credit to the people who gave it to the museum. The men were on the museums record, the Annings were not.

        When Mary was twenty four years old, she found another fossil that lived in the sea. It had a long snout with sharp teeth. Instead of legs, it had four flat paddles. It was called a plesiosaur.

        Soon, many people wanted to meet Mary Anning. She enjoyed teaching people about the fossils she loved. Scientists sent Mary Anning books about fossils. She compared what she read with the fossils she found.

        Mary Anning was never afraid to speak her mind. If a scientist put a dinosaur bone in the wrong place, she will speak up. She was never afraid to disagree if she knew she was right.

        Every day, Mary went out looking for fossils. In 1828, she found a belemnite. They lived in the sea. Like a squid, they could squirt clouds of ink. Later that year, she found another important fossil. It was called a pterosaur. Pterosaur was a reptile with wings. Mary found the first pterosaur in England. When people saw the dinosaur bone, they were amazed. Had it really been alive?

        One day on 1829, Mary was collecting fossils when a tide was coming in fast. She was so busy that she didn't notice it. Mary and her helper had to run to safety. They made it just in time. The danger was worth it. Mary had found another plesiosaur. It was even better than the first.

        On December of 1829, Mary found a strange fossil. It had teeth that were hooked. The body had flaps, like wings. The flaps reminded Mary of a sting ray. Scientists agreed with her. Others thought it was a reptile or a bird. A couple years later, they found out that it really was a fish. It was a chimaera.

        Mary died in 1847 from breast cancer. Mary Anning didn’t get much credit for the work she did. It is important to learn about her because her fossils helped people learn about life in the sea over two hundred years ago. She is also a good role model for girls and women today. She taught us that we have to speak up for our rights and what we believe in.

        Is that the best conclusion or what? I'm proud. I'm darn proud!!!!
        posted by Fikirte @ 11:46 AM   Digg!
        1 Comments:
        • name<="c117429096735260592" id="c117429096735260592">

          At 4:56 AM, Anonymous BonnieJ said…

          I would be so proud too! I am raising two daughters...one is a law student headed to the Army JAG Corps as a legal officer when she graduates in 09, and the other wants to be a writer, possibly a music critic or playwright/screenwriter. Google Martina McBride's "In My Daughter's Eyes." Lyrics are online. You'll tear up for sure!

           
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