''Lucy's Baby'' Adds to Early-Human Record

Our Ancient Ancestors
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A re-creation of the A. afarensis known as Lucy brings us face-to-face with one of our earliest and best known ancestors.

In 1974 a team led by paleoanthropologist Donald C. Johanson caught the first sight of Lucy's elbow protruding from gravelly sediments. Dated at 3.2 million years ago, the set of fossilized bones found in the badlands of Hadar, Ethiopia, proved to be a groundbreaking find (Ethiopia facts and map).

At the time Lucy was the oldest and most complete early human fossil ever found. Her pelvic and leg bones indicated that she had walked upright.

Lucy's species was given the name Australopithecus afarensis in 1978. The species is believed to be the common ancestor of all later human species, including modern humans.

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Photograph by Tim Boyle/Getty
 
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