Did “Lucy” Climb Trees?
Posted by addisethiopia on November 7, 2012
“All of us who are human beings are in the image of God. But to be in his likeness belongs only to those who by great love have attached their freedom to God.” —St. Diadochus of Photike
This question is at the root of a discovery just announced on the cover of Science magazine by Bay Area scientist Zeray Alemseged, Curator of Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences and Midwestern University Professor David Green.
Australopithecus afarensis (the species of the well-known “Lucy” skeleton) was an upright walking species, but the question of whether it also spent much of its time in trees has been hotly debated for 30+ years, partly because a complete set of A. afarensis shoulder blades has never before been available for study. In an extensive analysis of two complete shoulder blades from the fossil “Selam”—the only ones from this pivotal species known to science—Alemseged and Green found the bones to be quite apelike, suggesting that our forebears were still climbing trees as bipedalism was emerging.