AN 338 Lucy and Ardi: The Oldest Women

The 3.2 million year (myr) old fossil skeleton “Lucy” discovered in 1974 remains one of the most complete and most important specimens in the human fossil record. A new discovery, “Ardi”, a 4.4 myr old fossil also from Ethiopia has joined Lucy in providing an important window into our evolutionary history. In this course, students will intimately learn about these specific individuals “Lucy” and “Ardi”.

Students will study casts of Lucy and other hominids to understand the very nature of science and learn how paleoanthropologists come to know what they think they know about human origins and human evolution. How did “Ardi” and “Lucy” move, and how do we know? What did they eat? Could they talk? Were they furry? Did they give birth?

The Boston University Anthropology Department currently has two teaching casts of Lucy, and these will be employed as you come to know and understand the significance of every curve, crack, and groove of the hominid skeleton called Lucy, and how she compares to her older ancestor “Ardi”.

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