“One has to devote oneself to a particular pursuit. To be successful at anything, you have to make a total commitment to it.” — Donald Johanson, American Paleoanthropologist and Discoverer of “Lucy” Fossil
Paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson and his team unearthed “Lucy”, the most complete early human skeleton, during an archaeological excavation in Hadar, Ethiopia 45 years ago this week. Dated to be nearly 3.18 million years old, the female fossil of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis is forty-percent intact and made up of several hundred different bone fragments. Johanson and his crew celebrated their discovery by drinking and listening to The Beatles song “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, inspiring a name that would give life and personality to this otherwise mysterious descendent of our species. Officially named AL 288-1, “Lucy” went on a six-year tour of the United States from 2006-2013 dubbed “Lucy’s Legacy” before finally returning to Ethiopia, though casts of the skeleton are on display at museums across the world. If you’re an archaeological enthusiast, visiting this remarkably well-preserved fossil needs to be added to your Bucket List — “Lucy” is currently on display the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.