March 1, 2012
World Civilizations 101- Dr. James LePree
“Lucy and Ardi: Beginning of Human Origins”
Many people often consider our first milestone in life to be our first step. It is the beginning of many important developments as an individual. It was also the beginning of our development as a species. Dr. Donald Johanson and Dr. Tim White discovered two of the most amazing specimens that would be the stepping-stones to the beginning of evolutionary development. Australopithecus Afarensis (Lucy) and Ardipithecus Ramidus (Ardi) were the first fossils found in Africa that showed signs of early evolutionary development that is connected to Homo sapiens in the evolutionary tree. Lucy and Ardi are important to our evolutionary development because they were the first fossils to show upright walking as their primary locomotion.
American paleoanthropologist, Dr. Donald Johanson, led the team that discovered Australopithecus Afarensis in 1974 at Hadar in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia. The discovery of Lucy was very significant, which was because the skeleton showed evidence of a small skull that resembled that of an ape and of bipedal upright walking that is akin to that of humans. Lucy is dated back to about 3.2 million years ago. Lucy’s species survived for over 900,000 years, which is over four times as long as our own species has been around. A. Afarensis, which are similar to chimpanzees, grew rapidly after birth and reached adulthood earlier than modern day humans. Lucy was about the age of 11-12 years old but the formation of all of her teeth showed that he was fully matured for her species unlike modern day humans were that isn’t reach till later years (Johanson The Quest for Human Origins). This meant Lucy’s species had a shorter period of growing up than modern humans have today. A. Afarensis had both ape-like and human characteristics such as ape-like faces, which is described as flat nosed and sloping lower jaw that juts out...