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Today's Family Magazine

Finding Lucy: Our First Steps in Discovery exhibit now open at Cleveland Museum of Natural History

A new exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) gives visitors a chance to get to know one of their early human ancestors a little better.  “Finding Lucy: Our First Steps in Discovery” is now open and will run through December 1; it is included with Museum admission.

Lucy’s official name is Australopithecus afarensis, a partial skeleton that an international team of scientists led by former CMNH curator Dr. Donald Johanson discovered in 1974 in the Afar desert of Ethiopia.

At the time, “Lucy” was the oldest and most complete early human ancestor to show evidence of upright walking.  Researchers unearthed 40 percent of the specimen, which is estimated to be about 3.2 million years old.

“Lucy” has served as an important reference that has expanded researchers’ understanding of the morphology and anatomy of the earliest human ancestors and increased knowledge of human evolution. Named after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” she has even seemed very humanlike to many people.

“Over the years, through research publications and the media, people all over the world have connected with ‘Lucy’ as an individual – not a fossil specimen,” said Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, curator of physical anthropology at the Museum.  “Although no longer the oldest human ancestor discovered or most complete fossil specimen, she remains an icon of paleoanthropology.”

For more information, hours and ticket pricing visit