National Geographic : 1996 Mar
THE DAWN OF HUMANS Face -to- Face with Luc 's Family By DONALD C. JOHANSON Photographs by ENRICO FERORELLI Art by JOHN GURCHE Walking the parched earth of Hadar, Ethiopia, in 1974, paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson un earthed a set of fossilized bones (left). Known as Lucy, she's the most complete hominid skeleton of her age and the most famous specimen of Australopithecus afarensis-believed to be the common ancestor of all later hominids, including modern humans. Though her bones proved that she walked upright, Lucy's remains lacked a skull, the most revealing of all anatomical clues. In 1992 Johanson's team found what it sought: an afarensis skull. With jutting jaw, heavy brow, flaring cheeks, and strong muscles, the apelike male head-re-created (right) by artist John Gurche-held a brain one-third the size of a modern human's. When compared with older afarensis fossils, the author says, the three million-year-old skull supports the proposition that the species survived relatively unchanged for 900,000 years.