I’ve always been intrigued in the evolution of humans and the mysterious lives of our distant ancestors. Speculation swirls around the religious and scientific world over the concept of evolution and where exactly the human race originates. On November 24th, 1974 some of those questions were answered thanks to the discovery of a Hominidae fossil, later named Lucy, at a site in Ethiopia.
Lucy’s remains have provided insight into the development of today’s most elaborate species, Homo sapiens. The most groundbreaking discovery is that Lucy had the ability to walk straight up as humans now do. Thus, providing further evidence for the pro-evolution argument. Technological developments have even made it possible to depict a hypothetical image of a living Lucy, essentially giving her fossils life. Her bones have been interpreted, copied, and studied in every way imaginable and her discovery has lead to an abundance of information for scientists to review for the last 42 years. However, a simple question has eluded scientists around the world who have been studying the remains of Lucy; how did she die?
Image found here
There have been numerous studies and several hypotheses in hopes of determining Lucy’s cause of death. According to the ASU Institute of Human Origins, evidence on Lucy’s bones has previously provided insight into her death. However, a predator could possibly have made this wound post-death. Basically, there was inconclusive evidence regarding the cause of death. That was until a recent discovery unearthed some hidden secrets potentially shedding light on the Lucy mystery. According to the researchers articles in Nature, the newest theory is… wait for it… that she fell out of a tree! The lead scientists have reasoned that the wounds suffered by Lucy parallel those of human fractured bones from high falls. As a result, it has been hypothesized that Lucy had fallen from a high distance, ultimately resulting in wounds that ruptured key organs leading to her death.
Personally, I found the potential cause of Lucy’s death, falling out of a tree, as rather underwhelming. But, the circumstance of which the human-like fossil was discovered and the insights she provides about our species past is truly incredible. With advancing technology, the possibilities are seemingly endless in discovering more and more valuable information. Lucy may provide information regarding the origins of human life and ultimately has the potential to change the course of science like never before.
Giving these fossils both a name and image to identify with is unlike anything I have heard or seen before. It seems to make all of the research just a little more special and personal then other studies.