A Science Odyssey Human Evolution

photo of Lucy's skeleton Lucy in the Earth

Discovered in 1974 by Donald Johanson, Lucy is special because she lived so long ago (3.2 millions years) and because almost half of her skeleton was found. (Most fossil finds are just fragments -- sometimes a tooth or a piece of a skull.) Johanson named her after the Beatles' song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

Not far from the Lucy site, another significant find was made, this one also by Donald Johanson. Known as "The First Family," the find consisted of many fossils that originated from at least thirteen individuals. The evidence indicates that the thirteen died together some 3.2 million years ago, possibly in a flash flood. This is the first evidence of an ancient species living in groups.

Taung Child

Fossilized Footprints

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