Australopithecus Afarenis Essay, Research Paper
Louis Leakey found the first fossil remains of the species Australopithecus afarenis in 1935 during an excavation in Africa. He found a canine tooth from the A. afarenis species while in Laetoli, Tanzania, which is near Lake Victoria. He met his future wife Mary at Cambridge. It was 43 years until the next remains would be found.
In 1978, Mary Leakey, who was Louis Leakey s mistress at the time, and Paul Abell found three sets of fossilized footprints also in Laetoli. Australopithecus afarenis walked in fallen ash from a volcanic eruption nearly 4 million years ago. The footprints left behind were of the same pattern as modern day men. They stepped with the pressure going first to the ball of the foot and then push off with their toes, just as humans do today. Though the Leakey’s findings were important, Donald Johanson’s were the most important.
Donald Johanson, in 1974 found the most popular fossilized hominid. He was the anthropologist who found the invaluable Lucy. Forty-seven bones of Lucy were found in Hadar, Ethiopia. The skeleton was 40% done–the most complete hominid skeleton found. Through radiocarbon dating, scientist discovered that Lucy lived 3.2 million years ago.
Lucy, with a height of 3.5 ft. and a weight of 60lbs, was a full-grown adult. She had a wide face that resembled an ape more than a human did. Her forehead was low with a osseous browridge and a level nose. The hominid had a forward prominent jaw with broad canines and incisors. Lucy is thought to have an omnivorous diet of mostly meat. The angle of her hips showed specialists that Lucy was bipedal, but did not walk with as much ease as modern humans. She walked with a slight waddle. Scientists also believe she was a tree-climber and lived in small scavenging herds. Lucy s arms were longer than those of humans, but more petite than apes.
The discoveries of Australopithecus afarenis fossils were very important to science. They gave scientists more insight into the unknown world of prehistoric times.
Australopithecines. http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/9/0,5716,11469+2,00.html. January 8, 2000.
Australopithecus afarenis. http://www.handprint.com/LS/ANC/htxt2.html. January 8, 2000.
Johnson, George B. and Raven, Peter H. Biology: Principles and Explorations. New York: Holt,
Rinehart, and Winston; 1996.
Resser, Ken. Hominid Evolution. http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Atrium/1381/hominids1.html. January
Valenzuela, Aaron and Reed, Mary. Australpopithecus afarenis. Availible
http://depts.vassar.edu/%7Emareed/evolution/A_afarensis.html. January 8,2000.