Australopithecus afarensis

Date range:
3.9 to 3 million years ago

Distribution:
Eastern Africa

Features:
Apelike arms; spine, pelvis, and lower limbs suited for an upright stance and two-legged gait

Australopithecus afarensis is the species made famous by Lucy, a 3.18–million–year–old partial skeleton found at Hadar, Ethiopia. You see more reduced canines and slightly thickened enamel, but afarensis still features a protruding, chimplike jaw, and its brain is only slightly larger than a chimpanzee’s. It has slightly longer arms and shorter legs than a human does, but its proportions are very much like those of a human. It has relatively curved fingers and toes.

Photograph at left and top by Kenneth Garrett

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