Disputed analysis says early hominid broke multiple bones
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In a macabre twist, the hominid evolutionary tree’s most famous fossil star, Lucy, tumbled to her death from high up in a tree, a controversial new study suggests.
Some of the damage to Lucy’s 3.2-million-year-old partial skeleton most likely occurred when she fell from a height of 13 meters or more, say paleoanthropologist John Kappelman of the University of Texas at Austin and his colleagues. Lucy, an ancient ambassador of a prehuman species called Australopithecus afarensis, must have accidentally plunged from a tree while climbing or sleeping, the scientists propose online August 29 in Nature.
Bone breaks from head to ankle fit a scenario in which Lucy dropped the equivalent of least four to five stories, landing feet first before thrusting her arms out in an attempt to break her fall, Kappelman says. Tellingly, the ancient female