Teresa Manera de Bianco, born in 1944, was walking along the beach with her mother in her native Pehuen Co, Argentina, when they found fossil fragments of a prehistoric, armadillo-like creature. From that moment, the 11-year-old resolved to become a scientist.
This led to a career as a palaeontologist and geologist, and to the discovery, in 1986, of 12,000-year-old animal footprints on the Atlantic coastline. Her project to protect and preserve these ancient imprints earned Manera a Rolex Award in 2004.
Since then, Manera, a teacher at the National University of the South in Bahia Blanca and an honorary director of the Charles Darwin Municipal Natural Science Museum, has made great strides. A collection of mammal- and bird-footprint casts is housed in the museum and she has received government support, including legislation to create a palaeontological reserve at the site and funding.
Manera’s current focus is getting the area designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Published in 2009