Ancient hominin Lucy died by fall from tree

This video says about itself:

Lucy fell from a tree 3.18 million years ago

29 August 2016

Lucy died after falling from a tree, new research suggests. Lucy is a 3.18-million-year-old specimen of Australopithecus afarensis considered one of the oldest and most complete fossil hominins, an erect-walking human ancestor.

From Nature:

Perimortem fractures in Lucy suggest mortality from fall out of tall tree

Published online 29 August 2016

The Pliocene fossil ‘Lucy’ (Australopithecus afarensis) was discovered in the Afar region of Ethiopia in 1974 and is among the oldest and most complete fossil hominin skeletons discovered.

Here we propose, on the basis of close study of her skeleton, that her cause of death was a vertical deceleration event or impact following a fall from considerable height that produced compressive and hinge (greenstick) fractures in multiple skeletal elements. Impacts that are so severe as to cause concomitant fractures usually also damage internal organs; together, these injuries are hypothesized to have caused her death.

Lucy has been at the centre of a vigorous debate about the role, if any, of arboreal locomotion in early human evolution. It is therefore ironic that her death can be attributed to injuries resulting from a fall, probably out of a tall tree, thus offering unusual evidence for the presence of arborealism in this species.

Tim White, a paleoanthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley, has studied Lucy and other Australopithecus fossils, and he doesn’t think there is enough evidence to say how Lucy died. “Most, if not all of the breaks appear to be the result of geological processes well after the time of death,” he tells NPR’s Christopher Joyce. “Fossilization makes bones brittle, and when fossils are embedded in sediment they are often cracked, crushed, and distorted”: here.

Fossil autopsy claims Lucy fell from tree. Disputed analysis says early hominid broke multiple bones: here.

Buff upper arms let Lucy climb trees. Arm, leg bone X-ray data provide clues to famous hominid’s mobility. By Bruce Bower, 2:00pm, November 30, 2016: here.

18 thoughts on “Ancient hominin Lucy died by fall from tree

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