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Lucy

What comes first to your mind when you think about our ancestors? Yeah! Ancestors! For me, it is the word ‘Lucy’. In the 2014 movie ‘Lucy’ there was a scene of a monkey on a river, his finger pointing into the void. Have you ever wondered who the monkey is?
“Hmm… The first Human with the name Lucy”
Lucy was the first Australopithecus afarensis skeleton ever found and discovered in 1974 by paleontology Donald C.Fossils of an Australopithecus afarensis specimen called “Lucy,” one of the earliest known human progenitors, were discovered in Hadar, Ethiopia, on November 24, 1974. The skeleton was given the name “Lucy” by the team who recovered her bones, led by American paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson and French geologist Maurice Taieb, after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” which was played at the celebration of the day she was discovered.

How was Lucy discovered?

Donald Johanson and Tom Grey discovered Lucy on November 24, 1974, at the Hadar site in Ethiopia. They’d gone out in a Land Rover in the day to map out another area. They decided to return to the truck after a long, scorching morning of mapping and scouting for fossils. Johanson recommended returning to the Land Rover via a neighboring gully as an alternative path. He readily recognized a right proximal ulna (forearm bone) as a hominid within only a few minutes.Henoticedanoccipital(cranial)bone soon after, followed by a femur, ribs, a pelvis, and the lower jaw. Several hundred bone pieces had been discovered 2 weeks later, following many hours of excavation, screening, and sorting, constituting 40% of a single hominid skeleton.

Why was Lucy different from apes and more similar to humans?
Only humans, out of all surviving primates, walk entirely upright.
However, Lucy and other fossil discoveries show that a
small-brained, ape-faced human progenitor moved stably on two feet more than 3 million years ago.
To confirm how Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis, walked, Scientists compare fossils to the bones of modern humans, as well as the anatomy of “knuckle-walking” primates like chimpanzees. They also have a surprising hint in the form of genuine footprints preserved in Laetoli’s volcanic ash. The traces they captured confirmed that they used to walk at a slow pace.
In simple words, if we explain ‘When a chimpanzee tries to stand up, its feet remain wide apart, its center of gravity moves side-to-side, and it painfully teeters for just a few seconds.’
Because their hip and knee joints were more human-like than
chimp-like, Lucy and other members of her species were able to walk properly.
Lucy’spelvic, hip, and leg bones provided more evidence that she was different from ape. Lucy’s thighbones (femurs) curve inward from the hip toward the knee, just like a human’s. Her tibiae (shinbones) then fall straight to the earth, permitting her to walk on her feet close together. Lucy’s extended arms, like the pole of a tightrope walker, may have allowed her balance while bipedal, according to some experts.

Lucy and other members of her species may have been adept climbers, thanks to their hanging arms and long, slightly bent hands and feet. Scrambling up trees might protect them from predators while also allowing them access to better food. Some experts think that A. afarensis was not fully bipedal because of these
“tree-dwelling” characteristics. The argument among anthropologists may rage on, but A. afarensis is a star species in the tale of human evolution because of its renown as “the ape who walked upright.”

How do scientists figure out which species Lucybelongs to?
Lucy’s species was unknown to Johanson and Grey when they discovered her petrified bones. The study team was certain they were looking at the bones of a monkey that walked upright after examining the fossils closely. Lucy’s hind limb bones were sufficiently comparable to the knee joint discovered in 1973 to support the theory that she was a biped. Other aspects of Lucy’s bones, like her teeth and pelvis, eventually proved that she was a hominin (for a thorough
account of Lucy’s pelvic morphology and its locomotor implications, see Kimbel & Delezene, 2009).

Many additional hominin fossils were recovered from Hadar in the years after Lucy’s discovery, including hundreds from the site A.L.

  1. The A.L. 333 assemblage is known as the “First Family” since it contains the bones of at least thirteen people (Johanson, Taieb, et al., 1982; Kimbel and Delezene, 2009). In addition, hominid remains similar to those found at Hadar have been unearthed in Tanzania at a site named Laetoli. Dr. Tim White and Johanson meticulously examined the collection of East African fossils, paying special attention to the variance among the specimens and debating whether the East African fossils constituted a single species or many species (Kimbel and Delezene, 2009).
    They submitted their findings to a panel of scientists, who eventually concluded that Lucy was part of a single, previously unknown hominin species. Johanson reported the discovery of this new species, Australopithecus afarensis, in 1978.

How is Australopithecus different from humans?

According to Dr.Donald Johanson (professor of anthropology)”Researchers no longer like to utilize the term ‘missing connection’ since it infers there is a single ancestor that particularly frames the extension or connection between our normal ancestors with the African chimps and ourselves. The chain of development is long and constant, crossing a long period, and is connected by a wide range of different species. Finding and characterizing Australopithecus afarensis during the 1970s accentuated the way that an ape-like ancestor isn’t momentarily changed into a
human-like species in one jump, yet that various segments of the skeleton change at various times. In this way, while Australopithecus afarensis isn’t the ‘missing connection’ among apes and humans, it is one of the significant evolutionary mediators between older, more ape-like species and later, more modern human-like predecessors.” Human genealogy proceeds to develop and thrive as new revelations are made in Africa, Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Australia; perhaps one day you will find a fossil hominin as “heavenly” as Lucy.

Why was she called the first human?

According to Dr.Johanson Lucy was the “Beginning of Humankind”.She was the most seasoned, most complete hominid skeleton ever discovered; she was proof that bipedalism advanced before huge current human-measured cerebrums developed, and her disclosure upheld the logical view that human development was a slow interaction including the appearance and endurance of momentary structures throughout extensive periods. Lucy’s species lived for north of 1,000,000 years.

Where is Lucy now?

Lucy’s bones were cast and molded at the Institute’s casting and molding facilities, and IHO holds reproductions of them. The “genuine” Lucy is kept in the Paleoanthropology Laboratories of the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in a specially made safe. Because many fossils, especially hominids, are rare and frail, casts of the actual fossils are frequently created. The molds are then used to make exact replicas, known as castings, that may be utilized for teaching, research, and displays.

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