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

Susan S. Chin (
Fri, 27 Dec 1996 18:06:19 GMT

"Michael J. Gallagher" <MIKEJOE@Prodigy.Net> wrote:
: >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.

Might want to ask your friend for their source of this mis-information.

Brent Howatt wrote:
: 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.

If A. afarensis is not an early hominid species leading to modern humans,
then there is one huge gap between 3 to ~4 mya in the hominid fossil
record. Afarensis is largely the only Australopithecine known for one million
years... that's an awful long time to NOT have evidence of another hominid
lineage... assuming the taphonomic playing field is even during this period.

: When Johansen and White published their find, they made the
: claim that _A. afarensis_ was ancestral. This was disputed by Richard
: Leakey and others.

However, in that infamous Walter Cronkite special featuring Johanson and
Richard Leakey...when asked to draw *his* version of the human family
tree.... all Leakey could do was to draw one big "?" depicting his
hypothesis of early African hominid phylogeny. I'll take afarensis over a
big "?" any day... less explaining to do, why these other fossils haven't
yet been found. If and unless we do, there is no good reason afarensis
cannot be an early ancestor to modern humans.