Topics: Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus, Australopithecus afarensis Pages: 13 (5148 words) Published: January 24, 2013
In 1974, a skeleton was found in Africa. The bones were those of young female, approximately 20 years old when she died. Scientists named this "young lady" Lucy. About 3 million years ago, when Lucy was alive, she was rather short, about 4 feet tall, and probably weighed about 50 pounds. Her brain was about the size of an orange. Her bones showed she probably walked erect, although she still had the ability to climb trees easily. There were no signs of broken bones or teeth marks that might show why she died. Scientists suspect that she probably fell into a lake or river and drowned.


Australopithecus afarensis Australopithecus afarensis is one of the oldest know hominid species. Thought to have been primarily a vegetarian, possibly a scavenger, it lived in dry uplands and around wooded lake shores. No evidence of tool making has been found. Nickname: Lucy. Geologic Age About 3.9 million to 3 million years. Size: males: 4 feet 11 inches, 99 pounds. females: 3 feet 5 inches tall, 64 pounds. Males are about the same size as pygmy men in Central Africa. Brain Size: 400 to 500 cubic centimeters. One third the size of a human brain (1,350 cubic centimeters) and about the same size as a chimp brain (390 cubic centimeters). Perhaps same intelligence of an ape. Linkage to Modern Man: Skeletal features indicate she was on the line that lead to the human genus, Homo. Discovery Sites: Lucy was discovered near Hadar, Ethiopia. The skeleton is housed at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. Remains of 60 A afarenis individuals have been discovered at Laetoli, Tanzania. Remains have also been found in the Aramis and Omo areas in Ethiopia and Lake Turkana in Kenya. One of the surprising things about afarensis is that it was a surprisingly durable creature, surviving for nearly 900,000 years unchanged, between 3.9 and 3 million years ago. In contrast modern man has only been around for 100,000 to 200,000 years and Neanderthals existed for about 300,000 years. [Source: John Noble Wilford, New York Times] Australopithecus afarensis is believed to have evolved into other Australopithecus species which eventually died out. Some scientists believe it evolved into other hominid species after a long period with a dryer, cooler climate. These hominids in turn developed into Homo species. Websites and Resources: Modern Human Origins ; Talk Origins Index ; Hall of Human Origins American Museum of Natural History ; Time Space Chart Hominid Fossils Pictures ; Smithsonian Human Origins Program ; Wikipedia article on Human Evolution Wikipedia ; Becoming Human University of Arizona site ; Human Evolution Images ;Hominid Species ; Institute of Human Origins ; Paleoanthropology Link ; Britannica Human Evolution ;Modern Human Origins ; Human Evolution ; Paleoanthropology and Evolution Links ;National Geographic Atlas of the Human Journey ; Yale Peabody Museum ; Humin Origins Washington State University ; Book: The Human Evolution Source Book Lucy

Lucy Most of what is known about Australopithecus afarensis is based on "Lucy"—a large part of the skeleton and 40 percent of a skull of a single individual found in 1974 in Hadar in the Great Rift Valley in the Afar region of northern Ethiopia by anthropologist Donald C. Johanson. Lucy's bones have been dated to be 3.18 million years old. She and Ardi (See Ardipithecus) are the most complete old hominid skeletons ever found. Before Lucy was discovered the most complete remains were less than a 100,000 years old....
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