Museum scientist Susie Maidment holds a specimen in a dark collections room

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11 inspirational stories from the Women in Science Palaeontology Tour

The Museum's new, free Women in Science: Palaeontology tour tells some inspiring stories of women in science.

Learn about female scientists past and present, their passions, their inspiration and how they got into science. Each tour is slightly different, but here are some of the women you might hear about.

1. Dorothea Bate

A Victorian woman who was completely uninterested in nineteenth century gender conventions, how did Dorothea become the first woman to get a scientific job at the Museum? The tour will tell you more about her journeys through Europe, her fascinating discoveries and the story of a scientist who followed her dream.

2. Mary Anning

Mary Anning is famous today for her important fossil discoveries along the south coast of England. Despite having a difficult life as an underprivileged woman in the nineteenth century, she found her place in science thanks to her intelligence, determination and passion. What does a popular nursery rhyme have to do with fossil hunting? Find out on the tour. 

3. Angela Milner

How did Angela Milner come to be known as the public face of dinosaurs at the Museum? A paleontologist who famously described the dinosaur Baryonyx (alongside Alan Charig), Angela's career spanned over 50 years. Find out more about Angela's pathway into science, her discoveries, and her legacy in today's Museum galleries.

4. Barbara Yelverton

Known as the 'jolly fast marchioness' due to her love of jet-setting and gambling, the Marchioness of Hastings and 20th Baroness Grey de Ruthyn was also a keen fossil hunter. Barbara built her own museum using the specimens she collected, with a specialism in vertebrates. Confidently conversing with the geologists of her time, Barbara held an important place in science and palaeontology.

5. Susie Maidment

Susie Maidment is a world expert on armoured dinosaurs and how they lived their lives.  As a child, when asked if she wanted to be a princess or a palaeontologist she didn’t know which to choose but her love of dinosaurs made the decision for her.  She often spent family holidays in Charmouth hunting for fossils such as ammonites. Find out why she loves field work.

6. Emma Bernard

Emma Bernard is a curator of palaeobiology and an expert on fossil fish and is particularly interested in sharks. One of the best things about her job is fieldwork: "When you dig up a fossil you are the first person to see it and that is special."  Mary Anning is her historical hero, she was the first palaeontologist that Emma read about, "Up until I read about Mary, I had only seen male palaeontologists in books and magazines."

7. Zoe Hughes

Zoe Hughes is responsible for the Museum's collections of fossil octopuses, squid and brachiopods. "I love learning about the vast array of weird and wonderful animals that have once existed – and still do – on our planet."  She likes to support, mentor and excite young scientists. Come and find out more about Zoe's work.

8. Tori Herridge

Tori Herridge is co-host of the Natural History Museum podcast Wild Crimes. She's a palaeobiologist who is an expert in fossil elephants, mammoths and shares an interest with Dorothea Bate on dwarfing of fossil mammals on Mediterranean islands. "Every new discovery, if excavated properly, has the potential to advance our understanding of what this past world was like." Find out about this and dormice the size of cats!

9. Helen Muir-Wood

Helen Muir-Wood is Zoe Hughes' science hero. She worked when geology was a largely male profession. In 1955 reached the highest rank of any woman at the time in the Museum until Angela Milner in the 1990s.  Even while doing war work she found time to go fossil hunting.

10. Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan

Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan is a palaeobiologist at the University of Cape Town and an expert on the teeth and bones of vertebrates, particularly of dinosaurs and birds. She leads a course on Extinctions Past and Present and has written six books, two of which are for children. She furthers the public understanding and popularisation of science.