Dorothea Bate: A fearless fossil hunter

In the latest instalment of our occasional series profiling remarkable yet unheralded characters from history, Karolyn Shindler introduces the palaeontologist Dorothea Bate, who climbed mountains, swam to remote caves and cheated starvation to discover a series of remarkable dwarf mammals

Dorothea Bate. (Illustration: Stavros Damos for BBC History Magazine)

This article was first published in the December 2017 edition of BBC History Magazine

Even at four o’clock in the morning it was warm. The stars were just beginning to lose their brilliance, but it was still dark. Light would not come for at least an hour. But Dorothea Bate had just one thought: to reach her goal at the edge of the sea on the far side of the inhospitable Akrotiri peninsula in western Crete. It was a hazardous journey, by pony, of several hours, and even by 8am the temperature on that exposed, limestone terrain could be 30C or more.

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