Amy Atwater

Amy Atwater has been a collections manager at the Museum of the Rockies for about two years. She describes the job as being a fossil librarian, managing the museum’s roughly 400,000 fossils.

Mary Anning, an English paleontologist in the early 1800s, made some major discoveries. But her work was often attributed to men.

Local paleontologist Amy Atwater, 27, wants to fix that.

Atwater has been a collections manager at the Museum of the Rockies for about two years. She describes the job as being a fossil librarian, managing the museum’s roughly 400,000 fossils.

Atwater also runs an Instagram account with the handle mary_annings_revenge. The page has almost 13,000 followers and tells Anning’s story. It also features specimens that Atwater works with every day, most of which aren’t on public display.

“I hope (followers) come away with a sense of awe and wonder and excitement,” Atwater said.

The Oregon native has a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied Eocene mammals. Recently, Atwater has been studying ancient, dog-like Borophagine fossils. However, at the Museum of the Rockies, she’s in charge of all types of specimens, from T. rex skulls to teeth of Eocene primates.

When she was a kid, Atwater read a book about Anning called “Remarkable Creatures.” The story began resonating with her more in college, when she noticed the majority of science lecturers were male.

Atwater said she’s frustrated with the lack of diversity in the sciences. She doesn’t shy away from the topic on her page.

“I want to do my darndest to stand up for myself and other minorities in the field,” Atwater said.

Atwater occasionally gets an offhand, negative comment. On one post, some followers commented to dispute her claim of inequality in the field, or argue it doesn’t matter.

Atwater had a message for the naysayers in her next post, which included a picture of herself dressed as Mary Anning.

“My page isn’t for you. My page is for inspiring girls and women to pursue their dreams,” Atwater wrote.

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