Who is Lucy? – Flavible
Ten days of scanning, revealed a series of compressive fractures, likely caused by one bone being jammed into the other, signifying extreme trauma. John Kappelman, University of Texas (anthropology and geological sciences professor; leader of the study) stated, the injuries were consistent with those ‘caused by a fall from considerable height when the conscious victim stretched out an arm in an attempt to break the fall.
The scan revealed multiple broken bones with no signs of healing, suggesting they occurred at time of death. The study speculates that 3ft 6in tall Lucy fell form at least 40 feet and hit the ground at 35 mph. Kappelman believes that she landed on her feet, before twisting and falling, and then attempted to break her fall. The impact of the fall created fractures in her ankles, knees, hip and shoulder. It is believed that her internal organs were probably punctured by this ‘hydraulic ram effect’.
Some scientists, however, have discredited the theory attributing the cracks in her skeleton down to the fossilisation process and natural forces, such as erosion.
Lucy shook our ideas of understanding the process of evolution, bridging the gap between humans and apes. She had mobile ankles and shoulders, with slightly curved finger and toes, which provided more overhead range of movement.
Her species survived for more than 900,000 years, beating modern humans four times over. She showed that it had been wrongly perceived that we become intelligent before we stood up. This implied that the most important thing to advancing us towards are current state, may not have been brain power, but actually walking.
Lucy, however, was not the first species of her kind to be found. In 1924, a skull of a young child was found in Taug, South Africa. The fossils become known as the Taung Child, who lived approximately 2.8 million years ago. Raymond Dart determined that it belonged to a new species Australopithecus africanus. The Taung Child was the first inclination that humans had originated from Africa.
Nevertheless, Lucy has come to imprint herself in history as one of the most important fossils ever found.