On This Day in History: November 24
The discovery of Lucy
Her catalogue number is AL 288-1. You know her as Lucy.
--On This Day in History Shit Went Down: November 24, 1974--
Lucy, named after the Beatles song that might have been about lysergic acid diethylamide except Lennon kept denying it, was an Australopithecus Afarensis who lived 3.2 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia. On November 24, 1974, approximately 40% of Lucy’s skeleton was uncovered by paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson. Lucy would be proclaimed “the missing link.”
Lucy was special because she represented the most complete hominin skeleton yet discovered. More important is that her bones revealed that she was bipedal, yet none too bright. Meaning: She was walking erect but did not have a big brain, supporting the hypothesis that human evolution was a gradual process and that our development as a species had numerous transitional forms over many eons. Lucy was one of those transitional forms, a species that existed for over a million years. Johanson later proclaimed that the term missing link isn’t one that scientists like to use anymore, because evolution is a continuous process spanning millions of years. There is no one link, missing or otherwise.
Speaking of her small brain, she might have died from being stupid.
Not everyone agrees, but some have stated that Lucy, who was believed to be a young adult at the time, fell out of a tree and that’s what killed her. Shit went down, out of a tree. It’s been over three million years. It’s not too soon to joke about her hitting branches on the way down and shrieking the Australopithecus equivalent of “Ow, fuck! Ow, fuck! Ow, fuck!” Ow. Dead.
She may not have done much in life, but became very famous in death. Lucy was taken on a world tour and is now the prized attraction in the National Museum of Ethiopia.
Get my book ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY SH!T WENT DOWN.
You can also become a subscriber: