Lucy, one of the most famous female hominins of prehistoric times, died in an accident, a new study claims.
The female Australopithecus afarensis Lucy, whose remains were discovered in 1974, lived in the Afar Triangle of Ethiopia around 3.18 million years ago. According to experts, the unearthed fossils are some of the most ancient and the most complex remains of the early human ancestors. About 40 percent of Lucy’s skeleton was discovered. She was around 3.7 ft (1 m) high and weighed less than 66 lb (30 kg). Having examined her fossilized skeleton, experts concluded that Lucy was bipedal and walked upright. However, it is not clear whether she was a typical tree-dweller.
After putting her remains under a microscope, American scientists led by John Kappelman, a professor of anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, discovered several fractures that bear close resemblance to those bone injuries people receive when they fall from high places. Experts claim that the discovered fractures of Lucy’s skeleton indicate that Lucy, similar to other individuals of her species, lived in trees.
Kappelman and his team examined and CT scanned the fossils and they found several fractures in the humerus (upper arm bone), the thighbone, one of the ribs, in the scapula and the pelvis. Experts rule out the possibility that these ruptures were created over the millions of years following the death of Lucy, and suggest they were caused by a trauma that led to Lucy’s death. There were trees in the area where her remains were discovered and researchers believe Lucy probably fell from a tree of around 39 ft (12 m) high. Lucy presumably looked for food and night shelter in the trees and she lived both on the ground and in the trees.
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