Lucy the Australopithecus is being commemorated for her 41st anniversary of the day she was discovered in Ethiopia. A tribute Google Doodle on Tuesday, November 24, welcomed the celebration of the female hominid, whose bones were discovered in 1974. Google is well known for celebrating landmark anniversaries and birthdays by transforming the Google logo into an interesting work of art.
At a time when the world is struggling with crimes of hate against others based on religious beliefs and race, it is fitting to remember that all humans that roam today’s Earth were born out of the homogeneous furry hominid. According to the Independent, the Australopithecus genus, which it has been established that Lucy comes from, was a member of the same Hominid tribe that modern day humans belong to. Although it has been determined that Lucy was a bit hairy and not quite human looking, the obvious similarity is that the Australopithecus and modern humans both walk in an upright position.
Google addresses its decision to commemorate the anniversary of the skeletal finding.
“This find would upend our understanding of bipedalism, and rewrite a significant chapter in the story of human evolution. To recognize the 41st anniversary of this historic moment, Kevin Laughlin has brought Lucy and her upright gait to life on our homepage.”
Lucy the Australopithecus is figured to be approximately 3.2 million years old, born about 800,000 years after the original evolution of her species began. As detailed by the Telegraph, the unearthing of the skeleton was extremely important since it filled in the gaps of understanding in how humans were finally born. The discovery of the Australopithecus, a bipedal primate, was vital in understanding the evolution of apes into homo sapiens.
The discovery, by archaeologists Donald Johanson and Tom Gray in 1974, was significant due to the amount of skeleton remains that were unearthed. The team found 47 bones, an estimated 40 percent of the total body of the Australopithecus. The quantity of bones discovered allowed for the determination by experts of how apes transitioned into humans. Lucy may have looked more like a chimpanzee in appearance and size, but the skeletal findings showed that she walked in a human-like upright position, known as bipedalism.
The name of Lucy the Australopithecus came from the well-known Beatles song, “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” With the skeleton pelvic composition, it was determined that the finding was a female. The archaeologists had been listening to the song at their campsite, and felt it perfectly fitted their new ancient female friend.
Knowledge about how the Australopithecus survived was enhanced by a new discovery five years ago. In 2010, evidence of crude stone tools were discovered in the same area that Lucy had been found. The tools marked the first known use of technology to be used to butcher meat. Dr. Zeresenay Alemseged, from the California Academy of Sciences, led the team that made the discovery of the fossilized animal bones that looked to be cut with a tool made of stone. The bones indicated that their marrow was removed as well.
Short in stature and petite, the skeleton puts Lucy at approximately 3-feet, 3-inches tall, and weighing about 60 pounds. The female skeleton also aided scientists in understanding that the size of the brain did not factor into the evolution process, as it was earlier believed. Previously scientists thought that bipedalism was part of the development of brains between Pan, the chimpanzee family, and Homo genus becoming larger. This obviously was not the fact, as Lucy the Australopithecus’ brain was no larger than the size of a chimpanzee’s.
[Photo by Dave Einsel/Getty Images]