Friday, September 14, 2012

Lucy discoverer to speak at library

Donald Johanson will discuss human origins

Express Staff Writer

Dr. Donald Johanson looks deep into Lucy’s eyes in an attempt to glimpse the origins of humanity.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Donald Johanson

    Valley residents interested in human evolution and prehistory should clear their schedules for Wednesday evening.    
    Donald Johanson, an American paleoanthropologist who discovered Lucy—the fossilized partial skeleton of a 3.2 million-year-old female hominid—will speak at the Community Library in Ketchum on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m.
    Johanson said the talk, titled “Lucy’s Legacy: Our African Origins,” will be about 50 minutes long, followed by a brief question-and-answer period.
    “The library was kind enough to invite me to give a presentation, which I very much wanted to do,” Johanson said.
    The discussion will cover Johanson’s now famous 1974 discovery of the fossil and the resulting insights that the discovery provided to the scientific community.

“[Lucy] represents a very interesting mix between primitive and advanced features.”
Donald Johanson
Lucy discoverer

    “Lucy played a very pivotal role in the shape of the human family tree,” Johanson said. “She represents a very interesting mix between primitive and advanced features.”
    Johanson discovered Lucy in the Afar, part of the Hadar region of Ethiopia. Forty percent of the skeleton was recovered, including the pelvis. He said Lucy’s pelvic structure indicated that she was female and must have walked upright. At the time of the discovery, Lucy’s skeleton was the oldest on record to indicate bipedal locomotion. Johanson named the species Australopithecus afarensis.
    Johanson said he’s eager to spend some time in the valley.
    “I’m looking forward to doing some fishing. I did some fishing in the valley last year and I loved it. I’d also be interested in bike riding, if I can find a bike, or hiking.”
    Johanson’s books “Lucy: The Beginnings of Human Kind,” "Lucy's Legacy: The Quest for Human Origins" "From Lucy to Language" will be available for purchase at the event from Iconoclast Books. Johanson will be signing copies.

Brennan Rego:

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