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The New Lucy Revealed

Friday, September 20, 2013 at 10:57 AM

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Earlier today, we shared a photo of "Lucy", a 3.2 million-year-old hominid who was all the rage when she was first discovered in Ethiopia in 1974. That photo was deliberately obscured, so as not to steal the thunder of her grand redesign and unveiling this morning at a two-day scientific consortium. Now, we present the most updated and accurate skeletal reproduction of her, which will grace the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Human Evolution wing.

Photo Gallery

New lifelike reproduction of Lucy, unveiled Friday A closer look at the most updated, complete, and accurate rendition of Lucy yet (photo by Brian Bull) The obscured Lucy (left) and the revealed Lucy (right) with CMNH's Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie (photo by Brian Bull)

To the average viewer, the differences between the newest Lucy reproduction may not be readily apparent (at least she’s still standing upright on two feet). 

But prominent researchers of Australopithecus afarensis—including Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Dr. Bruce Latimer of Case Western Reserve University—note that the ribcage and curvature of the spine are different from earlier versions. 

An earlier model of Lucy has been relocated to the basement of the CMNH.  It had intrigued museum visitors for nearly 30 years.  It was displayed with a photo of Latimer’s daughter, Gracie, who was only six years old but stood eye-to-eye with her distant ancestor.  That’s because Lucy and her ilk were much shorter than today’s hominids. 

The consortium will consist of a public symposium today and a scientific symposium Saturday, where 25 Lucy researchers will gather in private and discuss how they can collaborate more and therefore advance their understanding of this prominent player in human evolution. 

Tune in to 90.3 Monday afternoon to hear ideastream’s Brian Bull report on the event.

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Arts and Culture, Natural History, Natural Sciences, Education, Science

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