Human Ancestor ‘Lucy’ More Of A Tree Climber

Perhaps one of the most famous human ancestors found is "Lucy." The hominid has been found more than 40 years ago, but scientists continue to study the fossil. A current research states that human ancestor "Lucy" might be more of a tree climber.

Anthropologists still study "Lucy," as the hominid fossil still holds many clues about the past of human life. "Lucy" is one of the earliest examples of a hominid. The impact that the fossil has to modern Anthropology is still being felt today. One of the traits that "Lucy" might have is that it was more up in the trees.

Scientists from the John Hopkins University and the University of Texas-Austin are taking a second look at "Lucy." The limbs of the fossil suggest that the hominid spent more time in the trees. This is especially true since the upper limbs are heavily built, even though "Lucy" walked upright.

While "Lucy" might have spent much time climbing trees, scientists aren't sure how much time the hominid spent its time there. "Lucy" is 3.8 million years old and is one of the complete fossils ever found for an early hominid, according to the John Hopkins University School of Medicine site. This makes the fossil so important in the study of early human evolution.

Earlier it has been found that "Lucy" most likely has died after a fall. That would establish that the hominid had been up in the trees at least for some time. "Lucy" also made its nest in the trees, in order to avoid predators. "Lucy" has been discovered in 1974 by Anthropologist Donald Johanson of Arizona State University and graduate student Tom Gray. "Lucy" was found in the Afar region of Ethiopia.

Studying "Lucy" today is Christopher Ruff, Ph.D. He is a Professor of Functional Anatomy and Evolution at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. The team has looked into a CT scan of "Lucy" that was made while on a US tour back in 2008. High-resolution CT scan was used since "Lucy's" fossil has been heavily mineralized, as Science Daily reports.

One issue that Anthropologists need to resolve is whether "Lucy" had its structure as a result of daily activity, or whether it was a residue from earlier hominid development. The CT scans have been compared with modern humans in order to evaluate its walking movements. It has been determined that "Lucy" could not have walked as efficiently as modern humans have.

Anthropologists continue to learn more about "Lucy" and other early hominids. Human ancestor "Lucy" might be more of a tree climber, as studies show. Another study has shown that Neanderthal genes have given modern humans the ability to adapt to the environment.

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