Appearing next to a full-scale recreation of the famous "Lucy" skeleton (Australopithecus afarensis) in Tusher African Hall, this computer animation compares the distinctive gaits of a chimpanzee, A. afarensis, and modern human, highlighting the trait of upright walking that the latter two share.

Can you spot the similarities and differences amongst the skeletons?

Lucy and chimpanzees share:

  • elongated skull with small brain case
  • face and jaws that jut out from the brain case
  • shoulder blades and joints that are suited for climbing trees
  • long arms and hands with curved fingers

Lucy and modern humans share:

  • spine connection beneath the skull to keep the head steady
  • robust and broad basin-shaped pelvis to support the upper body and hold it upright
  • angled thigh bones that place the weight directly over strong knee joints
  • compact and arched feet that support the full body weight with each step

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