“Lucy” is the nickname for the Australopithecus afarensis partial skeleton that was discovered in the Afar desert of Ethiopia in 1974 by an international team of scientists led by former Museum curator Dr. Donald Johanson. When the partial skeleton was found, it was the oldest and most complete early human ancestor ever found, with 40 percent of the skeleton unearthed. Lucy has served as an important reference that has expanded researchers’ understanding of the morphology and anatomy of the earliest human ancestors and increased our knowledge of human evolution.
In September 2013, the Museum unveiled a new Human Origins Gallery featuring Lucy, the famous 3.2 million-year-old human ancestor showcased as a skeletal mount as well as a sculpted reconstruction. Museum artisans Carl Jara and Nicole Dobrinic sculpted skeletal elements, cast 102 pieces in resin and painstakingly reassembled the mount of the famous fossil. The mount reflects current scientific knowledge of the hominin’s anatomy based on fossil evidence.