Beyond Mary Anning – Celebrating the work of women paleontologists

Off the top of your head, how many female paleontologists can you name?

Hopefully, thanks to the recent publication of The Fossil Hunter and Remarkable Creatures, the brilliant 19th century fossil collector Mary Anning should spring to mind, but it seems to me that women are underrepresented in discussions of paleontology. In books, documentaries, news reports, and other popularizations, male authorities (from Georges Cuvier and William Buckland to Bob Bakker and Jack Horner today) take center stage much more often than women, and this is despite the fact that there are (and have been) many women paleontologists who have greatly contributed to our understanding of prehistoric life. Sadly, it is not altogether surprising that when I asked my Twitter followers about who their favorite female paleontologists were this morning, several people responded that they couldn’t think of any.

This is a big problem, one that I intend to address with an article about the scientific achievements of women paleontologists (I just have to figure out where to pitch it), but in the meantime I wanted to compile a list which would help highlight the work of some of the women I hope to write about. This is only a partial list, one which I was able to cobble together from what I know and a few suggestions people have given me, but please speak up in the comments if you know of anyone I missed. The public image of paleontology is of a science dominated by middle-aged white men, and we need to do more to foster and highlight diversity within our discipline.

I am certain that there are more. I will amend this list as new submissions come in via the comments.