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Encyclopedia > Australopithecus afarensis
Australopithecus afarensis ("Lucy")
Fossil range: Pliocene

Picture of Lucy remains replica, Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Genus: Australopithecus
Species: A. afarensis
Binomial name
Australopithecus afarensis
Johanson & White, 1978

Australopithecus afarensis is an extinct hominid which lived between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago. In common with the younger Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis was slenderly built. It is widely believed that A. afarensis is the ancestor of the genus Homo, which includes the modern human species, Homo sapiens.[1] Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Lucy (Amharic ድንቅነሽ dinqneš, you are wonderful) is the common name of AL 288-1, the 40% complete Australopithecus afarensis skeleton discovered on November 30, 1974 by the International Afar Research Expedition (IARE; director: Maurice Taieb, co-directors: Donald Johanson and Yves Coppens) in the Awash Valley of Ethiopias Afar... The Pliocene epoch (spelled Pleiocene in some older texts) is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (400x700, 127 KB) Full replica of Lucys (Australopithecus afarensis) remains in the Museo Nacional de Antropología at Mexico City. ... Lucy (Amharic ድንቅነሽ dinqneš, you are wonderful) is the common name of AL 288-1, the 40% complete Australopithecus afarensis skeleton discovered on November 30, 1974 by the International Afar Research Expedition (IARE; director: Maurice Taieb, co-directors: Donald Johanson and Yves Coppens) in the Awash Valley of Ethiopias Afar... Front entrance to the museum. ... Nickname: Motto: Ciudad en movimiento Location of Mexico City in south central Mexico Coordinates: , Country Federal entity Boroughs The 16 delegaciones Founded c. ... For other uses, see Scientific classification (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Typical Classes Subphylum Urochordata - Tunicates Ascidiacea Thaliacea Larvacea Subphylum Cephalochordata - Lancelets Subphylum Myxini - Hagfishes Subphylum Vertebrata - Vertebrates Petromyzontida - Lampreys Placodermi (extinct) Chondrichthyes - Cartilaginous fishes Acanthodii (extinct) Actinopterygii - Ray-finned fishes Actinistia - Coelacanths Dipnoi - Lungfishes Amphibia - Amphibians Reptilia - Reptiles Aves - Birds Mammalia - Mammals Chordates (phylum Chordata) include the vertebrates, together with... Subclasses & Infraclasses Subclass †Allotheria* Subclass Prototheria Subclass Theria Infraclass †Trituberculata Infraclass Metatheria Infraclass Eutheria Mammals (class Mammalia) are warm-blooded, vertebrate animals characterized by the presence of sweat glands, including those that produce milk, and by the presence of: hair, three middle ear bones used in hearing, and a neocortex... Families 15, See classification A primate is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans. ... Genera The hominids are the members of the biological family Hominidae (the great apes), which includes humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans. ... Tribes Gorillini Hominini Homininae is a subfamily of Hominidae, including Homo sapiens and some extinct relatives, as well as the gorillas and the chimpanzees. ... Species †A. afarensis (Lucy) †A. africanus †A. anamensis †A. bahrelghazali †A. garhi Formerly Australopithecus, now Paranthropus † † † For the song Australopithecus by Modest Mouse, see Sad Sappy Sucker. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Donald Carl Johanson (born June 28, 1943) is an American paleoanthropologist known for his discovery of the skeleton of a 3. ... Tim White (born August 24, 1950 in Los Angeles, California) is an American anthropologist. ... Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ... A hominid is any member of the biological family Hominidae (the great apes), including the extinct and extant humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans. ... Binomial name †Australopithecus africanus Dart, 1925 Australopithecus africanus was an early hominid, an australopithecine, who lived between 3. ... Species Homo sapiens See text for extinct species. ... Homo sapiens (Latin: wise man) is the scientific name for the human species. ...

Contents

Localities

Australopithecus afarensis fossils have only been discovered within Eastern Africa. Despite Laetoli being the type locality for A. afarensis, the most extensive remains assigned to this species are found in Hadar, Ethiopia, including the famous "Lucy" partial skeleton and the "First Family" found at the A.L. 333 locality. Other localities bearing A. afarensis remains include Omo, Maka, Fejej and Belohdelie in Ethiopia, and Koobi Fora and Lothagam in Kenya.Breasts are HOT!!! In scientific classification, a type is a specimen or description that corresponds to a taxon (a group of organisms), and helps to identify which organisms may be referred to with that name. ...


Physical characteristics

Craniodental features and Brain Size

Compared to modern and extinct great apes, A. afarensis has reduced canines and molars, although they are still relatively larger than in modern humans. A. afarensis also had a relatively small brain size (~380-430cm³) and a prognathic (i.e. projecting anteriorly) face. Families Hylobatidae Hominidae Apes are the members of the Hominoidea superfamily of primates, including humans. ...


The image of a bipedal hominin with a small brain and primitive face was quite a revelation to the paleoanthropological world at the time. This was due to the earlier belief that an increase in brain size was the first major hominin adaptive shift. Before the discoveries of A. afarensis in the 1970s, it was widely thought that an increase in brain size preceded the shift to bipedal locomotion. This was mainly due to the fact that the oldest known hominins at the time had relatively large brains (e.g KNM-ER 1470, Homo rudolfensis, which was found just a few years before Lucy and had a cranial capacity of ~800cm³). This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Binomial name †Homo rudolfensis Alexeev, 1986 Homo rudolfensis is a fossil hominin species proposed in 1986 by V. P. Alexeev for the specimen Skull 1470 (KNM ER 1470)[1]. Originally thought to be a member of the species Homo habilis, the fossil was the center of much debate concerning its...


Bipedalism

Reconstruction of A. afarensis from Laetoli (American Museum of Natural History)

There is considerable debate regarding the locomotor behaviour of A. afarensis. Some believe that A. afarensis was almost exclusively bipedal, while others believe that the creatures were partly arboreal. The anatomy of the hands, feet and shoulder joint in many ways favour the latter interpretation. The curvature of the finger and toe bones (Phalanges) approaches that of modern-day apes, and is most likely reflective of their ability to efficiently grasp branches and climb. The presence of a wrist-locking mechanism might suggest that they were knuckle-walkers. The shoulder joint is also orientated more cranially (i.e. towards the skull) than in modern humans. Combined with the relatively long arms A. afarensis are thought to have had, this is thought by many to be reflective of a heightened ability to use the arm above the head in climbing behaviour. Furthermore, scans of the skulls reveal a canal and bony labyrinth morphology that some suggest is not conducive to proper bipedal locomotion. Image File history File links Laetoliafar. ... The Plio-Pleistocene site of Laetoli in Tanzania is famous for its hominid footprints, preserved in volcanic ash (Site G). ... The phalanges in a human hand Illustration of the phalalnges The name Phalanges is commonly given to the bones that form fingers and toes. ...


However, there are also a number of traits in the A. afarensis skeleton that strongly reflect bipedalism. In overall anatomy the pelvis is far more human-like than ape-like. The iliac blades are short and wide, the sacrum is wide and positioned directly behind the hip joint, and there is clear evidence of a strong attachment for the knee extensors. While the pelvis is not wholly human-like (being markedly wide with flared with laterally orientated iliac blades), these features point to a structure that can be considered radically remodeled to accommodate a significant degree of bipedalism in the animals' locomotor repertoire. Importantly, the femur also angles in towards the knee from the hip. This trait would have allowed the foot to have fallen closer to the midline of the body, and is a strong indication of habitual bipedal locomotion. Along with humans, present day orangutans and spider monkeys possess this same feature. The feet also feature adducted big toes, making it difficult if not impossible to grasp branches with the hindlimbs. The loss of a grasping hindlimb also increases the risk of an infant being dropped or falling as primates typically hold onto their mothers as the mother goes about her daily business. Without the second set of grasping limbs the infant cannot maintain as strong a grip and likely had to be held with help from the mother. The problem of holding the infant would be multiplied if the mother also had to climb trees. The ankle joint of A. afarensis is also markedly human-like.[citation needed] The Rectus femoris muscle is a muscle of the human body. ... The pelvis (pl. ... Bipedalism is standing, or moving for example by walking, running, or hopping, on two appendages (typically legs). ... The femur or thigh bone is the longest, most voluminous, and strongest bone of the mammalian bodies. ... For other uses, see Knee (disambiguation). ... Bones of the Hip In anatomy, the hip is the bony projection of the femur, known as the greater trochanter, and the overlying muscle and fat. ... For other uses, see Foot (disambiguation). ... This article is about modern humans. ... This article is about the primate. ... Type species Simia paniscus Linnaeus, 1758 Species Ateles paniscus Ateles belzebuth Ateles chamek Ateles hybridus Ateles marginatus Ateles fusciceps Ateles geoffroyi Spider monkeys are New World monkeys of the family Atelidae, subfamily Atelinae. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Human Anatomical Terms. ... For a review of anatomical terms, see Anatomical position and Anatomical terms of location. ...


Social characteristics

It is difficult to predict the social behaviour of extinct fossil species. However, the social structure of modern apes and monkeys can be anticipated to some extent by the average range of body size between males and females (known as sexual dimorphism). Although there is considerable debate over how large the degree of sexual dimorphism was between males and females of A. afarensis, it is likely that males were relatively larger than females. If observations on the relationship between sexual dimorphism and social group structure from modern great apes are applied to A. afarensis then these creatures most likely lived in small family groups containing a single dominant male and a number of breeding females.[1] Female (left) and male Common Pheasant, illustrating the dramatic difference in both color and size, between the sexes Sexual dimorphism is the systematic difference in form between individuals of different sex in the same species. ...


There are no known stone-tools associated with A. afarensis, and the present archeological record of stone artifacts only dates back to approximately 2.5 Mya.[1]


Notable Fossils

Type specimen

The type specimen for A. afarensis is LH 4, an adult mandible from the site of Laetoli, Tanzania. In zoological nomenclature, a type is a specimen or a taxon. ... The Plio-Pleistocene site of Laetoli in Tanzania is famous for its hominid footprints, preserved in volcanic ash (Site G). ...


AL 129-1

Main article: AL 129-1

The first A. afarensis knee joint was discovered in November 1973 by Donald Johanson as part of a team involving Maurice Taieb, Yves Coppens and Tim White in the Middle Awash of Ethiopia's Afar Depression. AL 129-1 is the fossilized knee joint of the species Australopithecus afarensis. ... For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ... Donald Carl Johanson (born June 28, 1943) is an American paleoanthropologist known for his discovery of the skeleton of a 3. ... Dr. Maurice Taieb, (born 1935) is a Tunisian born French geologist and paleoanthropologist who discovered the Hadar formation, recognised its potential importance to paleoanthropology and founded the International Afar Research Expedition (IARE). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Tim White (born August 24, 1950 in Los Angeles, California) is an American Paleoanthropologist. ... The Middle Awash is an archaeological site along the Awash River in Ethiopias Afar Depression. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ...


Lucy

The first A. afarensis skeleton was discovered on November 24, 1974 by Tom Gray in the company of Donald Johanson, as part of a team involving Maurice Taieb, Yves Coppens and Tim White in the Middle Awash of Ethiopia's Afar Depression. Lucy (Amharic ድንቅነሽ dinqneš, you are wonderful) is the common name of AL 288-1, the 40% complete Australopithecus afarensis skeleton discovered on November 30, 1974 by the International Afar Research Expedition (IARE; director: Maurice Taieb, co-directors: Donald Johanson and Yves Coppens) in the Awash Valley of Ethiopias Afar... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... is the 328th day of the year (329th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. ... Donald Carl Johanson (born June 28, 1943) is an American paleoanthropologist known for his discovery of the skeleton of a 3. ... Dr. Maurice Taieb, (born 1935) is a Tunisian born French geologist and paleoanthropologist who discovered the Hadar formation, recognised its potential importance to paleoanthropology and founded the International Afar Research Expedition (IARE). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Tim White (born August 24, 1950 in Los Angeles, California) is an American Paleoanthropologist. ... The Middle Awash is an archaeological site along the Awash River in Ethiopias Afar Depression. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ...


Site 333

Michael Bush, one of Don Johanson's students, made another major discovery in 1975: near Lucy, on the other side of the hill, he found the "First Family", including 200 fragments of A. afarensis. The site of the findings is now known as "site 333", by a count of fossil fragments uncovered, such as teeth and pieces of jaw. 13 individuals were uncovered and all were adults, with no injuries caused by carnivores. All 13 individuals seemed to have died at the same time, thus Johanson concluded that they might have been killed instantly from a flash flood.


Selam

On September 20, 2006, Scientific American magazine presented the findings of a dig in Dikika, Ethiopia, a few miles from the place where Lucy was found. The recovered skeleton of a 3-year-old A. afarensis girl comprises almost the entire skull and torso, and most parts of the limbs. The features of the skeleton suggest adaptation to walking upright (bipedalism) as well as tree-climbing, features that match the skeletal features of Lucy and fall midway between human and humanoid ape anatomy. "Baby Lucy" has officially been named Selam (meaning peace in most Ethiopian languages). [1] Selam (DIK-1/1) is the fossilized skull and other skeletal remains of a 3-year-old Australopithecus afarensis female whose bones were first found in Dikika, Ethiopia in 2000. ... is the 263rd day of the year (264th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Scientific American is a popular-science magazine, published (first weekly and later monthly) since August 28, 1845, making it the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States. ... Bipedalism is standing, or moving for example by walking, running, or hopping, on two appendages (typically legs). ... Salaam or Selam is a Arabic and Ethiosemitic word with multiple usages. ... Ethiopic languages is a language group which together with Old South Arabian forms the Western branch of the South Semitic languages. ...


Others

  • AL 200-1
  • AL 129-1
  • AL 444

AL200-1 is the fossilized upper palate and teeth of the species Australopithecus afarensis. ... AL 129-1 is the fossilized knee joint of the species Australopithecus afarensis. ...

Related work

Further findings at Afar, including the many hominin bones in site 333, produced more bones of concurrent date, and led to Johanson and White's eventual argument that the Koobi Fora hominins were concurrent with the Afar hominins. In other words, Lucy was not unique in evolving bipedalism and a flat face.


Recently, an entirely new species has been discovered, called Kenyanthropus platyops, however the cranium KNM WT 40000 has a much distorted matrix making it hard to distinguish (however a flat face is present). This had many of the same characteristics as Lucy, but is possibly an entirely different genus. Binomial name †Kenyanthropus platyops Leakey et al. ...


Another species, called Ardipithecus ramidus, has been found, which was fully bipedal, yet appears to have been contemporaneous with a woodland environment, and, more importantly, contemporaneous with Australopithecus afarensis. Scientists have not yet been able to draw an estimation of the cranial capacity of A. ramidus as only small jaw and leg fragments have been discovered thus far. Cranial capacity is a measure of the volume of the interior of the cranium (also called the braincase or brainpan) of those animals who have both a brain and a cranium. ...


See also

The following charts give a brief overview of several notable fossil finds relating to human evolution. ... List of fossil sites: // Afar Depression, Ethiopia, Pliocene Awash River, Afar Depression, Ethiopia, Australopithecus afarensis, Lucy, Pliocene, 3. ... The following charts give a brief overview of several notable fossil finds relating to human evolution. ...

References

  1. ^ a b c Jones, S. Martin; & R. Pilbeam (ed.) (2004). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution (8th ed.).Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-46786-1
  • BBC - Dawn of Man (2000) by Robin Mckie| ISBN 0-7894-6262-1
  • Barraclough, G. (1989). in Stone, N. (ed.): Atlas of World History, 3rd edition, Times Books Limited. ISBN 0-7230-0304-1. 
  • Australopithecus afarensis from The Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian Institution
  • (2000) in Delson, E., I. Tattersall, J.A. Van Couvering & A.S. Brooks (eds.): Encyclopedia of human evolution and prehistory, 2nd Edition, Garland Publishing, New York. ISBN 0-8153-1696-8. 

For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full 2000 Gregorian calendar). ... The Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle on the National Mall serves as the Institutions headquarters. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Australopithecus afarensis (1774 words)
The species A. afarensis is one of the better known australopithecines, with regards to the number of samples attributed to the species.
afarensis is one of the better known australopithecines, merely with regard to the number of samples attributed to the species.
The afarensis material is important in that it is the best known early hominid species (although as earlier anamensis and/or ramidus material becomes better known, it will lose much of its focus as the earliest known hominid material for which much is known).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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