Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Did ‘Lucy’ Have Neighbors?

It is currently undoubted that human race traces back to the humble eastern Africa with most of the fossils and artifacts that depicts the existence and civilization of an early man species extracted over the years. Popular sites include The Olduvai Gorge in Kenya, parts of eastern Uganda and parts of northern Ethiopia. Among the most famous species of hominids are the kenyathropus platyops, homoerectus, and homopithecus (Reed & Kaye 2013). They are hominids species because they relate to humans than to chimps in their body structure, art, tools, and culture as they roamed the rangelands about 3 million years ago. Acknowledgements to the paleontologists and geologist who have discovered these marvelous creatures in an attempt to decipher our ancestors and more so who answer the once labelled 64-million-dollar question, which taxa gave rise to our taxa Homo? We, ’humans’ belong to the species Homo sapiens sapiens.
You probably know ‘Lucy’ or have about her marvelousness’ not only in the way she was quickly discovered but also for the distinct formation of body structured as depicted by her skeleton (Meldrum & Charles 2004). In 1973, at a camp site in Afar Triangle of Ethiopia paleontologists, archeologist, anthropologist and geologist celebrated to making one of the greatest discovery of all time and from a tape recorder in the camp, ‘the Beatles’ song ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ played loudly and repeatedly hence the name ‘Lucy’. Donald Johansson and Tom Gray who were a group of archeologist and geologist had discovered the end of shinbone. However sliced but luckily, the lower part-end of femur was near it. When fitted into each other, they formed the angle of a knee joint undoubtedly indicating that it was an upright walking hominid. Within the second field era in autumn, the crew operated on the location where they discovered hundreds of bone fragments (Reed & Kaye 2013). Amazingly, these pieces were with no duplication and formed 40% of a hominid skeleton that and later assessed as a female based on the pelvic and sacrum bones. The terrific collection and reconstruction confirmed the original speculation to a hominid speciesAustralopithecus aferensis Lucy that resembled modern humans. Lucy then became a household name in the 1970s.
Currently, it is evident that Lucy was not alone. She presumably had cousins more or less neighbors. Recent fossilized teeth and jaws discovered in northern Ethiopia about 35 kilometers from Lucy’s Hadar (Reed & Kaye, 2013). The bones are from diverse kinds denoted to as the Australopithecus deyiremeda that dates 3.5 to 3.3 million years compared to Lucy that dates 3 to 3.7 million years. The name deyimerada in Afur language means relative or close in addition given the proximity of Hadar and dating these two species presumably co-existed in the same period and geographical region (Meldrum & Charles, 2004). However, the latter has notably beefier jaws and much smaller teeth than any hominids ever learned. Many of these bones demonstrate a different compelling match to the flat-faced kenyathropus platyops and even to Lucy.
This therefore denotes that the latter is a different species all the same. Researchers speculate that the latter might have lived among trees or even fed on different food owing to the shape of the teeth differentiates him from Lucy. However, questions on their co-existence remain a mystery that is unfolded until now. Imagine living in a world with another species almost alike physically and culturally. Did they battle for territory, food and shelter or did they bath together in the Awash River exchanging pleasantries?

Works Cited
Kimbel, William H, Yoel Rak, and Donald C. Johanson. The Skull of Australopithecus Afarensis.
New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Print.
Meldrum, D J, and Charles E. Hilton. From Biped to Strider: The Emergence of Modern Human
Walking, Running, and Resource Transport. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum, 2004. Print
Reed, Kaye E, John G. Fleagle, and Richard E. Leakey. The Paleobiology of Australopithecus:
Contributions from the Fourth Stony Brook Human Evolution Symposium and Workshop, Diversity in Australopithecus: Tracking the First Bipeds, September 25-28, 2007. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013. Internet resource.

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