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Lucy is the common name for the oldest bipedal hominin to ever be discovered by anthropologists. She is otherwise named AL 288-1. She is a collection of fossilized bones that once made up the skeleton of a primate from the Australopithecus afarensis species. She lived in Ethiopia 3.2 million years ago. Her Ethiopian name is Dinkinesh which means “you are marvelous.”
See the fact file below for more information on the Lucy Australopithecus or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Lucy Australopithecus worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- On November 24, 1974, Lucy was found in Africa, close to the town of Hadar in the Awash Valley of the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia.
- She was discovered by American paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson, of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and Tom Gray.
- On the morning of November 24, a white fossilized bone, shaped like that of an arm, caught Johanson’s eye.
- He and Tom Gray explored further and found more parts of an individual skeleton, such as a skull fragment, a thigh bone, a pelvis fragment, a few ribs, a few spinal parts, and some jaw pieces.
- In the afternoon, the whole excavation got to work and continued the excavation for three weeks.
- Lucy got her name from a song by The Beatles entitled “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”
- The anthropologists were playing this song out loud and on repeat in the campsite the night they first discovered the fossils.
- When Lucy was found, she was surprisingly complete – 40% of her skeleton was discovered, as opposed to only a bunch of inadequate and harmed fossils that typically make up those of a comparative age.
- Her discovery gave fresh insight about our ancestors from over 3 million years ago.
- At first, the researchers considered Lucy an Australopithecus africanus species.
- Discovery of more individual skulls led paleontologists to conclude that she belongs to Australopithecus afarensis.
- Compared to other hominins, Lucy had a jaw that was more akin to a gorilla.
- One thing the researchers found notable was Lucy’s bipedalism.
- Examining her bones, precisely the structure of her knees, spine, and pelvis, researchers could find that she spent the majority of her energy strolling on two legs, which is a prominent human-like attribute.
- When her bones and teeth were analyzed, Lucy was found to be mature enough to be an adult.
- Although human-like and mature, Lucy was found to be smaller and shorter than humans.
- She was 1.1 meter tall and weighed approximately 64 lbs.
- Her smallness also indicated that she’s female because Hadar material showed a distinguishable size difference between males and females.
- Lucy had a valgus knee, commonly known as knock-knee, as well as curved finger bones.
- Her bones implied that Lucy hung in trees as well as walked upright.
- Her skull was similar to non-hominin apes, also known as hominoids.
- Her brain was only one-third the size of the brains humans have now.
- The size of her skull supports the claim that walking upright came before brain size increases.
- Findings in her ribs revealed that she had a large stomach, which led the researchers to conclude that Lucy ate mostly plant matter because of her digestive capacity.
- Lucy was the first Australopithecus afarensis to be discovered, but there has been more than 300 discoveries of the species to date.
- Most of these discoveries were in Hadar, Ethiopia, and Laetoli in Tanzania.
- Distinct characteristics of Australopithecus afarensis are bipedalism (ability to walk on two feet); sexual dimorphism (males being bigger than females); and robust teeth (that implied a plant-based diet).
Reason of Death
- How Lucy died has never been officially determined.
- Some relevant findings include a tooth mark on her left pubic bone, her erupted molars, and signs of degenerative disease to her vertebrae.
- However, all those findings are inconclusive to the reason of her death.
- In 2016, a group of researchers from University of Texas concluded that she fell from a great height.
- Her actual skeleton is not available for public viewing.
- Her skeleton is kept in Ethiopia, specifically in a well-constructed safe in the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.
- A plaster model of her skeleton is on display in the same museum.
- Her skeleton was taken out of Ethiopia and around the US from the year 2007 until 2013.
- The US exhibition tour was called “Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia”.
- She was brought back to Ethiopia in 2013.
- A cast of Lucy’s skeleton is situated in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Field Museum in Chicago.
- In New York City, a diorama featuring the Australopithecus afarensis and other predecessors of Homo sapiens is displayed in the American Museum of Natural History.
- In 1981, Donald Johanson published a book about the discovery of Lucy entitled “Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind”.
Lucy Australopithecus Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Lucy Australopithecus across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Lucy Australopithecus worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Lucy Australopithecus. Lucy is the common name for the oldest bipedal hominin to ever be discovered by anthropologists. She is otherwise named AL 288-1. She is a collection of fossilized bones that once made up the skeleton of a primate from the Australopithecus afarensis species. She lived in Ethiopia 3.2 million years ago. Her Ethiopian name is Dinkinesh which means “you are marvelous.”
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Lucy Australopithecus Facts
- Basics About Lucy
- Fact Finder
- Johanson’s Journal
- Building Vocabulary
- Rearranging Fossils
- True or False
- The Afarensis Species
- Can’t Be A Reason
- On Display
- My Lucy Replica
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Link will appear as Lucy Australopithecus Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, November 7, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.