Re: Lucy's current status -- in the fossil record or out?

H. Brent Howatt (
Fri, 27 Dec 96 16:53:36 GMT

In article <32C3F29C.125A@Prodigy.Net>, "Michael J. Gallagher" <MIKEJOE@Prodigy.Net> wrote:
>Susan S. Chin wrote:
>> "Michael J. Gallagher" <MIKEJOE@Prodigy.Net> wrote:
>> : >Is the hominid fossil known as "Lucy" still considered a part of the
>> : >fossil record of human evolution? If not, when did this change and why?

>> I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you asking if Lucy is still
>> considered a possible human ancestor, a part of the hominid lineage
>> leading to modern Homo sapiens? ...

>Sort of. A friend of mine told me recetly that Lucy had been "debunked," and
> was
>no longer considered a real fossil, much less a candidate ancestor. So I
> wanted
>to get the skinny from anthropologists, paleontologists, and archeologists,
> over
>whether this was in fact the case.

"Lucy" is the name given to a single specimen of the hominid species
_Australopithecus afarensis_. Both Lucy and all of the other specimens of
_A. afarensis_ are real fossils in the minds of everyone except delusional
creationists. Some creationists claim that _A. afarensis_ is a hoax, while
others claim that it is "just a monkey". The creationists generally
support these claims by demonstrating a colossal ignorance of paleontology,
by quoting Johanssen and others out of context, and by outright lying.

As to the question of whether _A. afarensis_ is considered to be in the
evolutionary line leading to modern humans, there is some difference of
opinion among experts, but it is largely considered to be one of our
ancestors. When Johansen and White published their find, they made the
claim that _A. afarensis_ was ancestral. This was disputed by Richard
Leakey and others. The consensus is now that the species is ancestral to
modern humans, but there are still those that either disagree or are
witholding judgement. There is a great deal of information on this topic
in the newsgroup FAQ collection at

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