‘Lucy’ walked upright

  • Lucy may well be the world’s most famous fossil hominid.
  • She is the best-known specimen of the species Australopithecus afarensis, and her partial skeleton, found in 1974, revealed that she and her kin could walk upright.
  • But because of a lack of foot bone specimens, scientists have long debated how well she walked that is, whether A. afarensis also used a grasping movement with the feet, as apes do when they grab tree branches.
  • Now, a fossilized foot bone from Hadar, Ethiopia, reveals that A. afarensis had arched feet, as do modern humans, and was fully committed to walking upright.
  • The species lived between 3.7 million and 2.9 million years ago.


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