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He called in experts on bone structure and locomotion and then began to determine conclusions based on the findings that these experts were making.Johanson believed that Lucy, as he has come to call his skeleton, was the oldest human ancestor, at 3.2 million years old.
One observation was that the bones were all the same size and color, which indicated that they did indeed belong to a single creature. This came from the notion of sexual dimorphism, that there is a difference in the body size between males and females of certain ape species.According to Johanson’s account of the discovery, it was mid-afternoon, when he looked back behind him and saw “a glint in the sunlight of a piece of elbow.” After the elbow, he found a piece of a shinbone, and then the lower piece of a thighbone.Johanson believed the bones might all belong to the same creature because “they were all scattered on the surface of one small place and there were no duplicate bones,” (Johanson,156).One warm, sunny day in November of 1974, anthropologist Donald Johanson was walking through the desert of Hadar, Ethiopia when he came across the elbow bone of a skeleton, slightly protruding to the surface.Johanson took the bone back to his camp and began to analyze it with colleagues.When Johanson set out in Hadar in November of 1974, accompanied by scientist Tom Gray, he was looking for a creature that would “bridge the gap,” between humans and apes.
He had good reason to be looking in Africa, because Charles Darwin had claimed that common ancestors existed between early humans and modern African apes.
She was the most complete hominid skeleton ever found with 40 % of her skeleton having been recovered.
Lucy was also the best preserved skeleton of a hominid, with her bones in excellent condition.
But most important was Johanson’s claim and reason for putting her in the lineage of humans, which was that she was bipedal (walked upright, on two feet).
This claim was based on evidence supplied by Johanson, locomotion expert Owen Lovejoy, and many other experts in various fields, and they were well-supported and have changed the way we interpret human evolution.
At first, Johanson and Gray thought the bones belonged to a monkey, but then they brought them back to their camp and looked at them more closely.