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Clever Mary: The Song of Mary Anning, A Hero of Paleontology

Sing along with NHM's Performing Arts team in celebration of Mary Anning, an overlooked matriarch of paleontology

Clever Mary Music Video Illustration

Clever Mary: The Song of Mary Anning, A Hero of Paleontology

Listen to the story of Mary Anning, one of the unsung (or at least not sung enough about) heroines of paleontology. In an original song, our Performing Arts team tells the tale of her incredible life and of discoveries. Enjoy "Clever Mary" and help celebrate her amazing legacy. Sing along with the lyrics!


Clever Mary 
written by Robert George
 
Clever Mary Anning born in Lyme Regis by the sea.
Struck by lightning as a baby, she survived, that’s pretty crazy.
Townsfolk said her wit and a vigor awoke a when that lightning hit her 
Said to be a sickly child, that lightning struck and she turned wild.
 
Clever Mary what have you found Amongst the rocks in cliffs and ground
Clever Mary what have you learned In books abound and pages turned.
Clever Mary what have you found Amongst the rocks in cliffs and ground
Clever Mary what have you learned In books abound and pages turned.
 
Mary’s pastor urged his flock
Put faith in god, and also rocks 
So clever Mary, raised by the sea 
Her First love was geology
With brother Jo, faithful pup Tray,
Mary searched for vertebrae
A lifeline for a family poor, 
For Mary fossils were much more
Devil’s fingers, verteberries, 
The search was no hobby for Mary
Her knowledge grew extraordinary, 
A science born, at the forefront, clever Mary
 
Clever Mary what have you found Amongst the rocks in cliffs and ground
Clever Mary what have you learned In books abound and pages turned.
Clever Mary what have you found Amongst the rocks in cliffs and ground
Clever Mary what have you learned In books abound and pages turned.
 
Fossil hunting in Lyme Regis was Extremely dangerous
Unstable cliffs freshly collapsed
Is where ichthyosaurs were trapped 
But clever Mary risked life and limb 
To find the finest specimens. 
Ichthyo, plesio, pterosaur
Mary discovered ever more
 
Clever Mary what have you found Amongst the rocks in cliffs and ground
Clever Mary what have you learned In books abound and pages turned.
Clever Mary what have you found Amongst the rocks in cliffs and ground
Clever Mary what have you learned In books abound and pages turned.
 
Though being a woman was quite common 
The practice was still frowned upon, 
And though clever Mary knew more than most, 
She was never let to publish her prose.
 
Clever Mary what have you found Amongst the rocks in cliffs and ground
Clever Mary what have you learned In books abound and pages turned.
Clever Mary what have you found Amongst the rocks in cliffs and ground
Clever Mary what have you learned In books abound and pages turned.
 

Credits:

Produced and Written by NHMLA’s Performing Arts Program
Original Song: Robert George
Bass and Mixing: John Conant
Accordion: Gigi Rabe
Violin/Fiddle: Adrianne Pope
Illustrations: Miranda Javid