Science

I Love Lucy's Skeletal Remains

Remember Lucy? She was the delightfully comical redheaded early hominid who may show us an important step in our transition from tree climbers to marathon sprinters. Sure, you remember, she had that show with the Cuban anthropologist? She’d get into all sorts of trouble, like eating a bunch of chocolate and making creationists scared that evolution actually happened, and then the Cuban anthropologist would be all, “Oh Lucy!” and we’d laugh and laugh.

Well, apparently the ratings are dropping so they’ve added a baby Lucy to the show. It happens every now and again. I think they did it Married with Children. Baby Lucy is only three years old, but she already has Lucy’s knack for getting attention, since her bones are remarkably intact (oh did I mention she’s been dead for three million years? Zany!).

Having both an adult and child of the same hominid might help researchers solve the big question over whether or not Australopithecus afarensis walked upright or climbed trees most of the time, which is huge. According to a UC Berkely anthropologist, Baby Lucy (aka Selam) looks like she walked upright. Fred Spoor over at University College (of redundancy?) London, Selam has a very human lower half and a very ape-like upper half. Hm, you know what that means, right?

Yep, Chaos over at the Discovery Institute of Ignorant Pseudo-Theories! Can’t wait to find out how they spin this one.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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5 Comments

  1. ” Can’t wait to find out how they spin this one. ”

    I find that the creationist spin cycle is very similar to the political spin cycle in Washington.

    Step 1> Deny – Creationists will argue with the finding, despite have no real knowledge of anthropology they will try and tell every what does and does not constitute a quality fossil find. When they fail to convince anyone that the fossil is just another piltdown man they move on to..

    Step 2> Spin – During this most creative phase creationists will try and spin the meaning out of this fossil. Somehow, even though this appears to be a very well preserved transitional fossil they’ll try to paint it as “just some more bones that don’t tell us anything”. When this fails to impress anyone they’ll start to get really creative. I’m not sure what they’ll come up with, but i’m sure various skeptical people will be on the lookout cause it’s usually quite a laugh. When no one is seriously paying attention to their drivel they move on to…

    Step 3> Argue relevence – This final stage of the spin cycle involves people saying. “Even if this is just what all those evil scientists say it is this dosen’t prove evolution” followed by a prolonged period of sticking their fingers in their ears and saying “la la la la la” to drown out any meaningful rebuttals of their stupidity.

    I’m really starting to think that anyone who denies evolution, the germ theory of disease, the link between hiv and aids, or the heliocentric theory needs to just be written off and forgotten about. If it wasn’t for the possibility of saving some of these peoples children from their parents morbid stupidity I would have given up long ago.

  2. Didn’t they spin out the Fishapod? There’s no way to satisfy them, cos they keep changing the rules!

    Anyway, I think it’s really cool that they found the intact hyoid bone on baby Lucy! Not human, but not *quite* ape-like any more.

  3. The anti Evolutionists are really missing something wonderful. The Steve Allen Theater at CFI West in Hollywood CA last weekend was SRO when Dr. Craig Stanford, Professor and Chair of Anthropology and Co-Director of the Goodall Research Center at USC
    http://www.usc.edu/dept/elab/anth/FacultyPages/stanford.html
    lectured on Upright: Great Apes and Human Origins. Fun! He had a power point presentation of wonderful pictures of the Laetoli footprints and skulls of various hominids and an interesting one I had not seen before of the different sizes of female pelvic girdles and the sizes of the heads of babies of different species, showing that childbirth has been getting more difficult as we evolve. Altho he said it is a myth that humans are the only ones who have painful labor. Everyone in the auditorium was fascinated.
    I can’t imagine what the churches have going on that would be as absorbing.
    An anthro teacher of mine gave a great lecture on the footprints. She described a little family of A. afarensis, walking along in the volcanic soil and leaving footprints, a larger person, a smaller one, maybe a pregnant woman because the smaller prints are slightly deeper, and a child, running along and stepping into the footprints of the adults he or she was with. A whole picture was painted of a little ancestral family, doing things I have done, maybe not near a volcanic eruption, but having my daughter step in my footprints after the rain.

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