Did a Fall From a Tree Kill Lucy, Our Famous Ancestor?
New analysis suggests that Lucy—one of the most complete hominin fossils ever found—met a tragic end three million years ago.
“I have taught this fossil since I was a grad student in the 1980s,” says John Kappelman, a professor of anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the study, which was published Monday in Nature. “I knew these fractures were there, I just never thought to ask what had caused them. No one, as far as I know, has ever put out a theory of how she died.”
This theory, however, is already provoking controversy. Some researchers remain unconvinced, arguing that the cracks in Lucy’s bones formed long after her death.
“The kind of breakage that we are looking at on these bones is consistent with the kind of bone damage on almost all of