Mary Anning, paleontologist
May 21, 1799-Mar. 9, 1847
Rare Treasure: Mary Anning and Her Remarkable Discoveries by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin, 2003)
Anning discovered the bones of an ichthyosaur as a child and from then on fossils dominated her life.
For more information, read about Anning on the UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology site.