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The Discoverer of 'Lucy' Returns to Cleveland to Recount Fossil's Impact

a photo of Lucy
Lucy was discovered by Donald Johanson in 1974 when he was a curator of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

The discoverer of the famous Lucy fossil has returned to Cleveland for a sold-out talk.

Donald Johanson is founder of the Institute of Human Origins at the University of Arizona and a former curator at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Donald Johanson was a curator of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History when, in 1974, he led the team that made the discovery of the ancient human ancestor.

He’s currently head of the Institute for Human Origins at the University of Arizona.

Johanson is speaking Friday as part of the museum’s Explorer lecture series, and hosted a webinar in Cleveland.

He says the discovery of Lucy not only launched his career and transformed our view of human evolution, it’s had a lasting impact on her homeland.

“All over Ethiopia you see references to her, you see the Lucy bakery, or the Lucy school, or the Lucy soccer team. So she’s had an enormous effect on many of us 3.2 million years after she lived," Johanson said.

Johanson says Cleveland has remained a hot-bed of activity in the field of  paleoanthropology, and local scientists continue to make important contributions to our understanding of human origins.

Jeff St. Clair is the midday host for Ideastream Public Media.