1974 – The 40% complete Australopithecus afarensis skeleton is found
Australopithecus afarensis is an extinct species of australopithecine which lived from about 3.9–2.9 million years ago (mya) in the Pliocene of East Africa.
From 1972–1977, the International Afar Research Expedition—led by anthropologists Maurice Taieb, Donald Johanson, and Yves Coppens—unearthed several hundreds of hominin specimens in Hadar, Ethiopia, the most significant being the exceedingly well-preserved skeleton AL 288-1 (“Lucy”), found on the 24th November 1974.
Aafarensis is now a widely accepted species, and it is now generally thought that Homo and Paranthropus are sister taxa deriving from Australopithecus, but the classification of Australopithecus species is in disarray. Australopithecus is considered a grade taxon whose members are united by their similar physiology rather than close relations with each other over other hominin genera.
Lucy skeleton reconstruction is at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Extra Note: It is thought that early hominins would have ofen fallen prey to the large carnivores of the time, such as big cats and hyenas.
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