PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Skull cast of Australopithecus afarensis. Australopithecus afarensis is an extinct species of hominid, thought to be an ancestor of modern humans. The most famous A. afarensis is a young female nicknamed Lucy, whose bones were found in 1974 in Hadar, Ethiopia. They are thought to date back 3.2 million years, representing the earliest known ancestor of humans. A. afarensis lived between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago and there is evidence from the structure of the pelvis and legs that this hominid was bipedal. As with most species of Australopithecus, A. afarensis was small, measuring just over one metre tall and weighing around 30-40 kilograms.
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