A 3.2 million-year old fossil skeleton of a human ancestor, was discovered in 1974 in Hadar, a site in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia, by paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Hundreds of fossilized bones represent less than half of the skeleton of a female of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis. The skeleton presents a small skull akin to that of non-hominin apes, plus evidence of a walking-gait that was bipedal and upright, akin to that of humans. It is believed that she was a mature but young adult when she died, about 12 years old.
“Lucy” acquired her name from the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by the Beatles, which was played the first day of work on the recovery site. The skeleton is preserved at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. A plaster replica is publicly displayed there instead of the original skeleton.