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Mary Annning While Buckland and Mantell were discovering the fossils of giant land reptiles a young woman named Mary Anning was finding fossils of prehistoric marine reptiles. Near Lyme Regis on the south coast of England Mary and her family gathered shells and fossils and sold them to tourists to make extra moneythey were very poor. Mary was the inspiration for the rhyme She sells seashells on the seashore. But she did more than just collect seashells she discovered the first ichthyosaur and plesiosaur not technically dinosaurs but extinct prehistoric marine reptiles that lived at the same time-and which of course begged the same questions. She was well-known in paleontological circles and many famous scientists visited her including Buckland and Mantell. In the early nineteenth century dinosaurs and extinct marine reptiles played a key role in the development of evolutionary ideas because their discovery raised many questions and pointed scientists in new directions. If for example species could go extinct did that mean new species could come into existence And if so how Duria Antiquior A More Ancient Dorset. A scene by Henry de la Beche c1830 was based on the discoveries of Mary Anning. 6