Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
On the beaches near Lyme Regis, England, young Mary Anning and middle-class spinster Elizabeth Philpot stepped into the early 19th-century world of fossil hunting, a time when fossils challenged established views of God’s creation but excited the scientific community. Mary endlessly searched for these curiosities, not only because she had the “eye” (a remarkable ability to find them), but to sell them to keep her family out of the poorhouse. Elizabeth searched for fossils as a hobby and for the “seductive thrill of finding unexpected treasure”. During their pursuits, Mary and Elizabeth became more than friends, they taught and supported each other. Theirs was a companionship that would stead them against those who would take advantage of their discoveries and those who simply did not understand their interest in fossils. Based on the life of Mary Anning, who made several key paleontological discoveries, Remarkable Creatures provides a quietly fascinating look at natural history and an unlikely friendship.