Thursday, May 02, 2013

'Lucy' comes home: Ethiopia celebrates iconic fossil

(May 02, 2013, Times LIVE))--When two heavy suitcases with the remains of "Lucy" were brought to the National Museum in Addis Abeba Wednesday, there was no holding back the emotions of onlookers and even journalists.

The 3.2-million-year-old fossil of a female hominid had been on tour throughout the United States for the past five years. Now Lucy is back in her African homeland. A woman wearing traditional African garb even offered a red rose to welcome Lucy's return.

"Lucy In The House"  3.2 million years old Lucy, back to Ethiopia after 5 years stay in the US
"There was a feeling of emptiness in Ethiopia while she was away," said anthropology professor Berhane Asfaw, who has been researching human evolution for the past 30 years. "Lucy is an icon for all the people in the country." US palaeoanthropologist Donald Johanson, who made the discovery of the bones in the Afar Triangle in 1974, also did not pass up the opportunity to take part in the welcoming ceremonies.

"Lucy has a message that overcomes all cultural barriers," Johanson said. "She is proof that the 7 billion people in the world all have the same origin and that basically speaking, we are all Africans."

But this alone does not explain the worldwide fascination for the skeleton of the "Australopithecus afarensis," a primate closely related to the Homo genus, which includes modern-day human beings. Johanson said he believes people see more than just a fossil in Lucy. "She is like a person with whom they can identify," he said. "In addition, there is naturally an extremely attractive name that comes with it." Read more from Times LIVE »

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