Remarkable Creatures...in DC

The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World

Reading this month's Georgetown Book Club selection Remarkable Creatures and growing interested in fossils and paleontology? Already curious about these topics? Explore them using these resources.

If you're looking to learn more about Mary Anning, the real life individual at the center of the novel, check out The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World, as well as the many entries on Anning available through the electronic database Biography in Context. You also can listen to a brief NPR interview with the novel's author, Tracy Chevalier, that occurred at the time of the book's release in 2010; in it, Chevalier discusses the real Mary Anning--including her role as the potential inspiration for the well-known tongue-twister "she sells seashells by the seashore."

For more information about fossils themselves, check out introductory titles such as Fossils and An Introduction to Fossils and Minerals: Seeking Clues to the Earth's Past, as well as identification guides such as the Firefly Guide to Fossils and Rocks and Fossils: A Visual Guide. You can find additional relevant books under the subject headings fossils and paleontology. Also, you can explore the entries on fossils and paleontology in the electronic database Science in Context.

To examine fossils in person in DC, take a trip to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, which is currently featuring the display "Whales: Bone to Book" in its Ground Floor Exhibit Case; according to the museum's Current Exhibitions website, this display "traces the path of knowledge from discovery on the beach or sea cliff to museum drawer to scientific publication." The museum also has a variety of permanent exhibitions focused on fossils and/or paleontology: FossiLab, Dinosaurs/Hall of Paleobiology, Dinosaurs in Our Backyard (Exhibit Case), and Osteology: Hall of Bones; more information about all of these can be found on that same Current Exhibitions page. Finally, the museum's website also includes a page with details about three of the amateur paleontologists -- a classification that fits Mary Anning as well -- whose findings can be seen in the museum's Dinosaurs in Our Backyard display.

Happy discovering, and don't forget that the Georgetown Book Club will be meeting to discuss Remarkable Creatures on Thursday, June 20 at 7:30 p.m. Hope to see you there!

-- Posted by J. Strusienski