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2010 Science News of the Year: Humans

1:57pm, December 17, 2010

Credit: Y. Haile-Selassie et al/PNAS 2010

Extreme makeover for Lucy’s kind
Recent fossil discoveries suggest that the early hominid species represented by the famous bones of Lucy, who lived 3.2 million years ago in Ethiopia, may have been more like modern humans than previously thought. The skeleton of a 3.6-million-year-old male of the same species, Australopithecus afarensis, shows that he had a nearly humanlike gait and ground-based lifestyle, says a team led by anthropologist Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Dubbed Big Man, the male stood an estimated 5 to 5.5 feet tall and would have towered over the 3.5-foot-tall Lucy (SN: 7/17/10, p. 5). Big Man’s anatomy challenges an influential view, largely based on analys

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