Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Lucy

Sobriquet for NME AL-288-1, a female Australopithecus afarensis skeleton recovered from the Afar triangle of Ethiopia in 1974. Forty percent of Lucy was recovered, including the lower limbs, which indicated some form of bipedalism. Her stature was estimated at 117 cm (3’10”), mass 28 kg (62 lb). At the time of discovery, this specimen radically changed the current view of hominid evolution. Combined with the new molecular data, the discovery decreased the estimate of time elapsed since the African ape/hominid split, previously thought to have occurred around 15 mya; Lucy now dates from around 3.6 to 2.9 mya, yet shows a number of primitive traits, particularly in the wrist, rib cage, skull, and dentition.

Cf. the Ramapithecusas-first-hominid debate.

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