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News18 » Tech
1-min read

Google doodles 41st anniversary of the discovery of Lucy - the oldest female hominid

Honouring the important discovery in archaeology, today’s Google doodle showcases the evolution of the human species from ape to the walking man.


Updated:November 24, 2015, 7:44 AM IST
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New Delhi: It was 41 years ago on November 24 that ‘Lucy’ – remains of a female hominid were discovered from the Australopithecus afarensis species, who lived in Ethiopia 3.2 million years ago.

Discovered first in 1973, about 40 per cent of her skeleton was found intact, rather than a handful of incomplete or damaged fossils that usually make up remains of a similar age.

As the Independent notes, after being dug up, it became apparent that Lucy was one of the most important fossils ever discovered, when paleoanthropologist Donald Carl Johanson and his team concluded that she belonged to a previously unknown species.

Honouring the important discovery in archaeology, today’s Google doodle showcases the evolution of the human species from ape to the walking man.

Lucy-hominidPicture shows a replica of the remains of a more than 3-million-year-old female hominid known as "Lucy" at the National Museum in Addis Ababa August 7, 2007. Ethiopians worried on Tuesday that the fragile bones of their world-famous skeleton may not survive a six year US tour. REUTERS/Barry Malone (ETHIOPIA)

There are some interesting facts about Lucy; she was named after The Beatles song 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' and one of the astounding facts that came out of the skeletal remains was that Lucy walked upright. Based on the study of her bones and the structure of her knee and spine curvature, it was discovered that she spent most of her time walking on two legs- a human-like trait.

As there were no teeth-marks anywhere on her skeleton, it was concluded that she was not killed and scavenged by other animals after she died. Australopithecus afarensis might have had human-like walking style, but they were much smalled than we are. Lucy too was found to be only 3.7ft tall and weighed just 29kg. She died as a young but fully grown adult.

The fossilised remains of Lucy currently lie hidden away from the public in a specially-constructed safe in the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, not far from where she was discovered. Plaster replicas of her skeleton are available to be seen by the public.

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