Carbon dating lucy

16-Aug-2020 11:00

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They noticed part of a femur (thigh bone) a few feet (about one meter) away.

As they explored further, they found more and more bones on the slope, including vertebrae, part of a pelvis, ribs, and pieces of jaw.

Lucy was discovered in 1974 in Africa, near the village Hadar in the Awash Valley of the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia, by paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Yves Coppens and Maurice Taïeb.

The Lucy specimen is an early australopithecine and is dated to about 3.2 million years ago.

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With the permission of the government of Ethiopia, Johanson brought all the skeletal fragments to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Ohio, where they were stabilized and reconstructed by anthropologist Owen Lovejoy.

That first evening they celebrated at the camp; at some stage during the evening they named fossil AL 288-1 "Lucy", after the Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", which was being played loudly and repeatedly on a tape recorder in the camp.

Over the next three weeks the team found several hundred pieces or fragments of bone with no duplication, confirming their original speculation that the pieces were from a single individual; ultimately, it was determined that an amazing 40 percent of a hominin skeleton was recovered at the site.

These were: Donald Johanson, an American paleoanthropologist and curator at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, who later founded the Institute of Human Origins, now part of Arizona State University; Mary Leakey, the noted British paleoanthropologist; and Yves Coppens, a French paleoanthropologist now based at the Collège de France which is considered to be France's most prestigious research establishment.

An expedition was soon mounted with four American and seven French participants; in the autumn of 1973 the team began surveying sites around Hadar for signs related to the origin of humans.

This fossil was later dated at more than three million years old—much older than other hominin fossils known at the time.