Walking With Wikis


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Biographical information
Broadcast information
Appears inWalking with Cavemen

Lucy is the common name of AL 288-1, several hundred pieces of bone representing about 40% of the skeleton of a female Australopithecus afarensis. Lucy is estimated to have lived 3.2 million years ago, and is classified as a hominid. Lucy was 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall, weighed 29 kg (64 lb), and (by reconstruction) looked somewhat like a common chimpanzee

The Discovery Edit

French geologist Maurice Taieb discovered the Hadar Formation in the Afar Triangle of Ethiopia in 1972. He formed the International Afar Research Expedition (IARE), inviting three scientists from three countries to co-direct the research. These were Donald Johanson, an American anthropologist and curator at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, who later became the Founding Director of Berkeley, California's Institute of Human Origins, now part of Arizona State University; Mary Leakey, the noted famous British archaeologist; and Yves Coppens, a French-born paleontologist now based at the Collège de France. An expedition was formed with four American and seven French participants, and in the autumn of 1973, the team surveyed Hadar for fossils and artifacts related to the origin of humans. At some stage during the evening, they nicknamed the fossil AL 288-1 as Lucy, after the Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", which was being played loudly and repeatedly on a tape recorder in the camp.

Since then, Scientific historian Londa Schiebinger questions the claim that Johanson's team made concerning Lucy's gender, citing that they wrote "the pelvic opening in hominids has to be proportionately larger in females than in males to allow for the birth of larger-brained infants." Contradicting this evidence was the timing of development of large hominid brains. Schiebinger continues to critique the assumptions made concerning Lucy's gender based upon the skeleton's size.

In the Series Edit

Lucy is shown as a female with a baby with no hair (yet). She was in the first episode of Walking with Cavemen. The story follows her and her relatives, as they first develop a leadership conflict following the death of the alpha male due to a crocodile attack, and then are attacked by a rival troop. The attack ends with the death of Lucy herself and her eldest daughter caring for Lucy's now-orphaned baby sibling, as a sign of the developing humanity in these "apemen". 

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