Print Your Own Australopithecus afarensis

Remember Lucy? No, not the terribly scientifically inaccurate pseudothriller starring everyone’s favorite Scarlet Sohansson. I mean that famous missing puzzle piece bridging the evolutionary gap between hominims and our more ape-like ancestors. Well thanks to the work of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Addis Ababa University have made their scans available to the public. These scans, were initially used to tell us how Lucy died, as this was a point of contention among many invesitgators. Here is a proposed mechanism of her arboreal-related demise (aka she fell out of a tree):

As is the case in all scientific discovery, there isn’t a consensus on this. Some believe that the breaks in her bones have undergone 3.2 million years of “who knows what” and therefore cannot be accurate enough to determine an underlying etiology.

How did she fall from the tree? Kappelman and his colleagues believe that she was actually sleeping before she fell. Unlike apes, who are built to sleep in trees, he says that the evolutionary modifications in her that allowed her such diverse movement patterns on the ground prevented her from being able to effectively sleep among the branches. She was likely off-balance which caused her to fall out.

Whatever the true cause, you can try to figure it out yourself by printing at least part of Lucy here:


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