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Lucy, the world’s most well-known human ancestor, might stroll identical to us, new analysis suggests | Science & Tech Information

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The world’s most well-known early human ancestor might stroll upright like a modern-day human thanks to totally bendable knee joints, analysis suggests.

‘Lucy’ was from an extinct ape-like species that lived in Africa greater than three million years in the past.

She was dug up in Ethiopia in 1974, and on the time was probably the most full identified early human ancestor.

However solely now have her decrease limb muscle tissues been totally digitally reconstructed, by researchers hoping to place an finish to a decades-old debate amongst scientists concerning how she walked.

The outcomes from a workforce on the College of Cambridge, revealed within the Royal Society Open Science journal, present Lucy might straighten her knee joints, stand upright, and stroll on two legs like we do immediately.

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However her legs had been additionally discovered to be far larger and extra highly effective than ours, permitting her to stay in timber like apes, that means she was equally well-equipped to adapt to life in open grasslands and dense forests alike.

The Cambridge scientists mentioned the findings might assist make clear how bodily motion has advanced in people, “together with these capabilities we’ve misplaced”.

How Lucy’s legs had been reconstructed

A workforce led by Dr Ashleigh Wiseman made a 3D mannequin of Lucy’s legs and pelvis muscle tissues, with 36 in every leg.

The foremost muscle tissues in her calves and thighs had been greater than twice as giant as these in fashionable people – the one remaining animal that may stand upright with straight knees.

Dr Wiseman, of Cambridge’s McDonald Institute for Archaeological Analysis, mentioned: “Lucy’s potential to stroll upright can solely be identified by reconstructing the trail and area {that a} muscle occupies throughout the physique.”

She added: “Lucy’s muscle tissues counsel that she was as proficient at bipedalism as we’re, whereas probably additionally being at dwelling within the timber.”

Lucy’s leg and pelvis muscle tissues had been digitally recreated. Pic: College of Cambridge

The historical past of Lucy

Lucy’s discovery within the Nineteen Seventies was monumental as a result of her skeleton was 40% full, with 47 out of 207 bones intact.

It included elements of her arms, legs, backbone, ribs, pelvis, decrease jaw, and cranium.

She was discovered to belong to the Australopithecus afarensis species, and given her identify because the archaeologists who discovered her had been listening to Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds by The Beatles on the time.

Researchers mentioned she would have been a younger grownup when she died, simply over one metre tall and beneath 30kg.

Since then, some consultants have steered she would have crouched and waddled like chimpanzees, whereas others believed she would have moved extra like a human.

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