National Geographic : 1976 Dec
"Lucy inthe Bky With Diamonds" THE SONG OF THE BEATLES, blaring through the Hadar wilderness from a tape recorder in 1974, gave a name to this startling three-million-year old skeleton. Until Lucy was found, the earliest skeleton this complete dated from no more than 100,000 years ago. Lucy and her kind walked upright, for aging along an Ethiopian lakeshore. The crescent indentation on the inner edge of the pelvis tells her sex. The angle of the thigh bone and the flattened surface at its knee-joint end-so different from quadrupedal apes-prove she walked on two legs. Like many other primates then and now, she suffered from ar thritis, a disease revealed by lipped edges on several vertebrae. Still, Lucy is far from being a member of the genus Homo. Fully grown, she is less than four feet tall. Her arms in rela tion to her legs are longer than a modern human's but not as long as an ape's, though she may have climbed trees for sleeping or safety. Not enough of the cranium survives to measure brain size, a clue to identification. The lower jaw's V shape and its narrow incisors resemble those of Australopithecus, the genus of near man whose bones have come to light at other African sites. Did Lucy or the genus Homo "family" use tools? None have been found at the site, but as the author points out, "We haven't looked for tools yet, and we tend to find only what we look for." This fall, as the expedition entered its fifth season, two archeologists went along, searching for crudely chipped stone tools like those discovered at other early-man sites in Africa.