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 6, 1999.