Lucy, our Australopithecus ancestor

I had somehow missed that Lucy, a 3 million year old australopithecene, had been on tour in the U.S. She's been at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and now she is at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. In the meantime, she stooped off at the University of Texas for a high resolution computer tomography scan as part of the Digital Morphology project. Listen to a story about the scan at NPR. Her visit has not been without controversy, as concerns have been raised about her fragility. And ticket sales have been lagging. Maybe because of the $20 price tag in these slightly challenging economic times? Now future stops on her planned 6-year sojourn in the U.S. remain unclear.

Bob Walter, a colleague who helped do the Ar-Ar dating on the rocks around Lucy, recently gave a guest lecture on that project in my Archaeometry course. What an exciting combination of paleoanthropology and geochronology!

Have a look at Lucy's jawbone in 3D: