Mary Anning KS2 – Two-page biography

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Two-page PDF biography of Mary Anning

Key Stage



Year 6


In the non-statutory notes and guidance for the evolution and inheritance portion of the Year 6 science programme of study, it says pupils might find out about the work of palaeontologists such as Mary Anning. This Mary Anning KS2 fact file will help explain to children who she was and why she is so important to our understanding of fossils.

Mary Anning KS2 facts

Mary Anning was born on 21 May 1799 in the seaside town of Lyme Regis in Dorset, on the south coast of England. Mary received little education and was not trained as a scientist. However, she grew up to be a palaeontologist whose findings helped change the way scientists thought about the world.

Mary came from a poor family. Her father, Richard, was a carpenter. She was one of nine children, but only she and her brother Joseph survived.

As a baby, Mary had a narrow escape. The family was at a local fair in a thunderstorm. Lightning struck and a woman holding Mary and two other people were killed, but Mary was unhurt.

When Mary was young, her father would take the family for walks along the beach and cliffs at Lyme Regis. It was around this time that richer people began to take seaside holidays. Richard Anning had a stall on the seafront and he would sell shells and rocks they had found on their walks to visitors to the town.

In 1810, when Mary was 11 years old, tragedy struck the family again. Mary’s father died after falling from a cliff. As the family had very little money, Mary had to spend most days looking for shells to sell.

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Mary Anning KS2 fact file
Mary Anning KS2 – Two-page biography

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