5 interesting things you should know about the skeleton found 41 years ago in Ethiopia

Today's Google Doodle marks the discovery of “Lucy”, a skeleton found 41 years ago in Ethiopia that helped scientists understand the evolution of apes into bipedal humans.

Google Doodle

Everyone who has logged into Google or tried using the search engine would see a doodle showing the evolution of man.

Named after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” the 3.2 million-year-old remains belong to the Australopithecus afarensis family, a species that shares both human and ape characteristics, according to theTelegraph.

In honour of 'Lucy', here are 5 interesting things you should know about Lucy as listed by The Independent UK:

1. She was named after The Beatles song 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'

After making the discovery, paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson headed back to his campsite with his team.

He put a Beatles cassette in the tape player, and when Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds came on, one of the group said he should call the skeleton Lucy.

"All of a sudden, she became a person," Johanson told the BBC.

2. Lucy walked upright

One of the most important things about Lucy is the way she walked. By studying her bones, in particular the structure of her knee and spine curvature, scientists were able to discover that she spent most of her time walking on two legs - a striking human-like trait.

3. No one knows how she died

The few clues we have about Lucy's cause of death can only rule things out, rather than provide solid answers.

There's not much evidence of teeth marks anywhere on her skeleton, suggesting she was not killed and scavenged by other animals after she died.

However, there is one tooth mark from a carnivore on the top of her left pubic bone - but it's not known whether this happened before she died, or whether she was bitten after.

4. Lucy still lives in Ethiopia, near to where she was found

The skeleton of Lucy lies 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.

Only a plaster replica of her skeleton is available to be seen by the public.

5. She was really short

Australopithecus afarensis may have walked upright and looked somewhat human-like, but they were much smaller than we are.

Lucy died as a young but fully grown adult, and stood only 1.1m (3.7ft) tall and weighed in at a paltry 29kg (64lb).


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