3.2 Million Year Old Skeleton Lucy
To Be Displayed at Academy Of Sciences
SAN FRANCISCO (March 15, 1999) -- To some, the name Lucy does not conjure
up thoughts of the Beatles, Desi Arnaz, or Charlie Brown's overbearing
friend in a smart blue dress. A much older and perhaps lesser known Lucy
is emerging from a vault in the University of California Museum of Paleontology
to visit the California Academy of Sciences in conjunction with Missing
Links - Alive!, the Academy's blockbuster summer exhibit about
human evolution. Lucy is one of the best known human fossils, a partial
skeleton found in Ethiopia in 1974 by California Academy of Sciences Fellow
Dr. Donald Johanson of the Institute for Human Origins.
While many horizontal casts of Lucy exist worldwide, the cast that will
be displayed at the Academy of Sciences articulates the bones in an upright,
three-dimensional display, allowing visitors to get a sense of Lucy's
diminutive stature. This cast is one of only two vertically mounted casts.
Lucy has become a touchstone for comparing fossils from older and younger
periods of time. The 3.2 million year old Lucy has led anthropologists
to rethink the human family tree and realize that walking on two legs,
or bipedalism, was the first innovation to evolve among our ancestors.
Lucy was a critical specimen in the naming of a new species of hominid
(a member of the human family), Australopithecus afarensis.
Missing Links-Alive! was developed in Europe by more than
twenty of the world's leading paleontologists and anthropologists who
have worked many years to unravel the universal mystery of human evolution.
Visitors will learn some of the processes of unearthing evidence from
the past, the excitement of making discoveries, and the ongoing controversies
over scientific interpretations.
Programming for Missing Links-Alive! is funded, in part,
by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Admission for adults 18 and over
is $2, $1 for seniors. The exhibit opens May 29, 1999 through September