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Endeavour. 2005 Mar;29(1):28-32.

Mary Anning: the fossilist as exegete.

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The fossil hunter Mary Anning began collecting her 'curiosities' at a time when the age and nature of these relics from the past were little understood. Her spectacular discoveries of prehistoric marine reptiles, fossilized fish and a pterosaur touched off a geology-mania around the world. Two documents that have escaped previous analysis cast light on the religious journey of this remarkable woman. An eight-page manuscript at the Natural History Museum in London indicates a fascination with Benjamin West's painting 'Christ Rejected' and sophistication in Biblical interpretation; and a commonplace book at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester tracks the shift in her Christian denomination from dissent to the Established Church, providing further indication of her spiritual depth - a piety that furthered, rather than hindered, her scientific progress.

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