Google celebrates 41 yrs of Lucy's skeletal discovery with doodle

Google celebrates 41 yrs of Lucy

Submitted by Subeditor on Tue, 2015-11-24 11:26 New Delhi: Google is celebrating with its customary doodle, the 41st anniversary of the discovery of the skeletal remains of “Lucy” Australopithecus, who is proven to have lived around 3.2 million years ago in Ethiopia. The doodle shows three stages of Lucy's evolution in place of “oo” in the word “Google.” 40 per cent of Lucy's fossilised remains were discovered intact and paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson named her Lucy after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” By studying her bones, in particular the structure of her knee and spine curvature, scientists discovered that she spent most of her time walking upright on two legs. It was claimed that she resembled human beings very closely and was 3.7 feet tall and 29 kgs in weight.   Who is Lucy the Australopithecus? How prehistoric discovery 41 years ago revealed one of humanity's early ancestors 41 years ago, a team of archaeologists working in Ethiopia discovered the remnants of an ancient skeleton that became a vital missing piece in the puzzle of how humans came to be. Nicknamed "Lucy", the skeleton was dated at 3.2 million years old - the oldest known example of a bipedal primate and a crucial stepping stone between apes and homo sapiens. In 1974, archaeologists Donald Johanson and Tom Gray found 47 bones, around 40 per cent of the skeleton's likely total, giving them enough information about the species to help understand the transition to homo sapiens. Based on the skeleton's pelvic structure, they deduced that it was female, and gave it the name "Lucy", after Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, the Beatles song that was playing back at their camp. Although Lucy had many of the characteristics of chimpanzees, such as long arms and a protruding belly, the skeleton showed that she primarily walked upright, the earliest example of such a primate. Bipedalism is seen as one of the key distinctions between the Homo genus and Pan, the family of chimpanzee species. Before her discovery, scientists had speculated that bipedalism came alongside the development of larger brains, but Lucy's was barely larger than those of chimpanzees. Lucy's species, known as Australopithecus afarensis, is believed to have lived between 3 million and 4 million years ago, and is the closest primate to the Homo genus. Homo Habilis, the earliest form of Homo, is believed to have descended from Afarensis or subsequent species of Australopithecus before homo sapiens came on the scene about 200,000 years ago.   Google's Doodle shows a walking Australopithecus afarensis is placed in between an ape and modern human, showing how Lucy's discovery filled the gap between the two. Nowadays, Lucy's bones are kept in a museum in Ethiopia, although they spent six years touring the US from 2008 to 2013. Barack Obama visited the fossil on a trip to Africa earlier this year, and was permitted to touch it, something usually reserved for scientists. Lucy's skeleton suggests she was around 3 feet 3 inches tall, and weighed around 60 pounds. Five years ago, a discovery suggested that her speciesused crude stone tools to cut and eat meat, putting estimates of our ancestors' first use of technology back almost a million years. ( Report: ANI