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Jurassic Mary

Fossilist Mary Anning

Born 21 May 1799

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Joan of Arc's capture and execution

Joan of Arc, the teenage commander of Charles VII’s army in the Hundred Years War, was pulled from her horse and captured by Burgundians north of Compiègne in France on 23 May 1430.

Despite several escape and rescue attempts the ‘Maid of Orléans’ was taken to Rouen, charged with heresy (including a charge for ‘cross-dressing’), found guilty at trial, and sentenced to be burned at the stake on 30 May 1431.

Since her death she has become a national hero of France, a Catholic saint, and an international symbol of uncompromising courage. Her life has fascinated people for centuries, including writer Mark Twain, who called her ‘by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced’.

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Quote of the day

“Mary Anning [is] probably the most important unsung (or inadequately sung) collecting force in the history of palaeontology.”

Stephen Jay Gould, American palaeontologist

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