Lucy's Cause of Death Finally Determined
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Lucy's Cause of Death Finally Determined

Scientists have recently determined her cause of death after decades

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Lucy's Cause of Death Finally Determined
newsela.com

If anyone is into anthropology and the origins of our race, you know about Lucy, one of the most famous, if not the most famous, skeletal remains ever found. For those who do not follow this stuff and are not into National Geographic or the like, Lucy is a 3.2 million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis skeleton whose remains were found in Ethiopia in 1974. The reason we should care, even non-geeks, is because she is one of the most complete skeletons in the australopithecus afarensis family, complete at 40%. It's because of this that we learned a lot about her kind, the ancestors of homo sapiens, a.k.a. the modern human.

Lucy showed us key factors about our precedessors. The most important fact scientists learned is that Lucy walked on two feet, a momentous step in human evolution, and this enabled her to spend more time on the ground, although she might have still lived primarily in trees. Her kind also expanded their diet beyond what they could find up in or around trees and there is evidence they might have used stone tools. She had both the features of a human and an ape.

Why do I bring her up? It's because scientists have just recently determined her cause of death. It's shocking that it took decades to do so but a cause of death has finally been determined, or at least been agreed upon. Experts believed Lucy died after falling from a tree.

The story goes like this:

Nobody can know what caused her to fall. Maybe she was startled by a predator, maybe she spied food and wanted to forage, or maybe a tree branch broke. Whatever the reason, she fell from 46 feet high in the air at 35 miles per hour. She hit feet-first, sending an impact punching through her body that created fractures in her ankles, knees, hit and shoulder, most likely puncturing her organs. This terrifying story does not end there because unfortunately she was still alive. She fell forward and instinctively put her arms out to break the fall, most likely her last conscious act.

She twisted to her right and fell on that side, and the twist fractured her neck. Eventually she succumbed to her wounds, an empty shell in a stream bed in the savanna. If there was water at that time, it moved her a short distance from her home, carrying her to the place where she was discovered 3 million years later.

I personally feel sorry for Lucy. Her death was horrific, especially since it wasn't quick. This makes her feel more like a person than just a pile of bones. I think that's what we all need to remember when it comes to the dead, even creatures from millions of years ago. This news is important because Lucy is important to our understanding of human evolution.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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