Talk:Lucy (Australopithecus)

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Former good article nominee Lucy (Australopithecus) was a Natural sciences good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
May 31, 2010 Good article nominee Not listed

apes[edit]

Uh I don't get how ape is used as contrasting to human ancestors....Aren't we still Apes? Belonging to the family Hominidae along with chimps,bonobos and other 'great apes'. Therefore, sentances like this "Doubters of the evolutionary evidence of Lucy to humans use this evidence to claim that Lucy is more likely an extinct species of ape" don't make sense. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.46.173.14 (talk) 20:37, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Explanation...?[edit]

"Johanson was able to recover Lucy's left innominate bone and sacrum. Though the sacrum was remarkably well preserved, the innominate was distorted like a carnivorous child/ baby , leading to two different reconstructions." I know virtually nothing about anthropology but this surprised me. Surely not? 217.136.43.131 (talk) 20:00, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

this was simply vandalism that somehow had survived. I've removed it now. I would encourage you to be bold and remove things you think are obviously wrong in future. You will help us all. GameKeeper (talk) 23:05, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Improve by November 24? Material for front page?[edit]

(copying and editing from Origin talk page) I was just scrolling through the "On this day..."s at the top of the page, and it's funny, and oddly appropriate, that Lucy was discovered on November 24, 1974, 115 years, to the date, after the publication of On the Origin of Species [1]. As some of you know, there has been a concerted effort by a number of editors to get the Origin page up to FA standards (which it recently passed [2]) in order to have it featured on the main page on November 24. Since we still have a little time before then, it might be interesting to try and find some things to help make November 24 a real double-whammy, with both the publication of the Origin and the 35th anniversary of Lucy included as front-page items; Origin as the featured article for the day, and something for Lucy, especially since this November 24 will be the 35th anniversary of her discovery. One idea is to look around to see if there is anything interesting, like a recent book, or article, that we could use as a "newsworthy" tie in. I know that Lucy was on tour for a while, but that was last year, so not exactly newsworthy for this November 24. Any ideas? Cheers, Edhubbard (talk) 16:34, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

Lucy[edit]

Your last edit to Lucy (Australopithecus) was misspelt and did not appear to add anything useful to the article. Please explain the point you're trying to make on the talk page, and present a draft proposal for agreement and correction rather than repeatedly inserting poor quality text. Thanks, dave souza, talk 20:31, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

My additional information regard taphonomy 76.16.176.166 (talk) 20:51, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Note a lot of text in *discovery* section before (some still remain) is verbatim quote but not marked such (") by previous editor/s. 76.16.176.166 (talk) 21:42, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Your additional information remains unclear, and suffers from misspellings. I'm pretty sure he "piked it up" is wrong. As suggested, please present a draft on this talk page and we'll try to sort out what you're trying to convey. . dave souza, talk 22:24, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
After yet another attempt by the IP to insert incoherent and misspelt material, I've added some info to emphasise the scatter of fossils on the slope which seemed to be part of the aim. Presenting a draft of the proposed taphonomy section on the talk page for discussion would allow the bugs to be resolved, putting out of sequence quotes in a citation doesn't work. . dave souza, talk 09:49, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Your edit seem to steer in direction that "Lucy" come from chronometrically controlled stratigraphic sequences. D Johhanson honestly wrote <ref> that the fossil surfaced due to water erosion. There seem to be point behind changing D Johanson words (the man who discovered 'Lucy') to "grammar" which works for your intelligence. History show you did it not the first time. Will you reveal what your intelligence dictating you ? 76.16.176.166 (talk) 13:21, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
ps i marked the art {pov} since I think is now misleading. There is substantial scholarly literature none is included in this article written as story for kids. Just few first doi: 10.1038/nature04629 10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.03.012 10.1002/ajpa.20656 10.1002/ajpa.20966 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.16.176.166 (talk) 13:22, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Hi 76.16.176.166, I agree with Dave here. I think he's been trying to be polite, but quite simply your command of the English language is severely lacking, to the point at which your edits have been ungrammatical to the point of being unclear. I've looked at several of your attempts to edit on this page so far, and quite honestly, I've been unable to even figure out what you were trying to say well enough to try and edit it. We can work on this constructively, but it should be done on the talk page, not in article space. Edhubbard (talk) 15:41, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Was that all about piked versus picked ? What other beside efficiency reasons stopped you to fix misspelled word? How you Dave get your definition: 1 meter = around few feet. (SI) ?
I getting impression from history and current edits that some cover fact that Lucy bones are not from chronometrically controlled stratigraphic sequences. Do you know why is important the link of bones to sediment layer's ? What is the link between water resurfaced bones and stratigraphic layer ? I know exact quotation brake somehow "the well written impression". I don't going to think that you going by all means protect this misleading aspect of this article. I going again reinsert the original quote + source by Donald Johanson the man who discover the fossil. Is the above enough for you to rethink your position? If not why not? 76.16.176.166 (talk) 19:04, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
It is not just piked versus picked. Your English is full of errors. Sometimes it is clear what you mean even though it is not proper English. Thus, for example, in your comments above I think I know what you mean by "stopped you to fix misspelled word" and by "I getting impression", and for a talk page discussion that is adequate, even though it makes reading your contributions difficult at times. However, in an article such garbled English is not acceptable: this applies in the "piked" case. However, there may also have been a slight doubt in Dave souza's mind: from his point of view there might have been a process called "piking a fossil up" which he did not know the meaning of. What is more there have been other occasions when you have written things which are so different from proper English that I have not been able to work out what you have meant at all, even after several readings. One or two slips in English can easily be corrected, but when an editor's grasp of English is so poor that there are likely to be really serious problems, it is far better to take the advice you have been given: present your proposed edits on the talk page. If they are good then they can be inserted into the article; if they are good in intention but not good English they can be copy-edited and then inserted into the article. This way you are actually more likely to get your ideas into the article, because other editors would feel you were trying to cooperate, and so would be more inclined to try to help you, rather than just seeing a bad edit and reverting it. JamesBWatson (talk) 09:32, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

(undent) If you think there is some substantive content that is missing, which you clearly do, you need to 1) explain why it is important (see WP:BURDEN) and 2) given your difficulties with the English language, work with other editors to improve the quality of your writing so that the key points can be included. As of right now, you are engaging in a slow-moving edit war, even after Dave, and now me, have asked you to please bring this to the talk page, rather than simply insisting on adding the garbled text that you want to add. In fact, there are many more grammatical and spelling errors than "piked" vs. "picked". Please work with us to explain why this should be included in the article, and to improve the English of the addition you want to make so that we can even make sense of it. Edhubbard (talk) 19:16, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

24th/30th November[edit]

The article at present gives the date of discovery as the 24th of November. There are conflicting sources, some giving 24th, some 30th. This was discussed in 2007. Now an anonymous editor has changed the date to 30th [3], and Edhubbard has reverted it [4], giving the edit summary "revert: there are conflicting dates in the literature, but this has been discussed before Talk:Lucy_(Australopithecus)/Archive_1#November_24th and settled, as it appeared on the main page twice". My reading of the earlier discussion is that at the end it seemed on balance that 24th looked more likely, but there was still doubt. Perhaps it would be better to mention both possibilities in the article, or alternatively to just say "November". I think that, where there is genuine doubt, to simply quote one possibility as a fact is an error. JamesBWatson (talk) 09:30, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

news of 2007 paleo conference[edit]

Alemseged et al., ʺPaleoanthropological Research at Dikika, Ethiopia and Comparative Morphology of the Juvenile Hominin from DIK‐1ʺ The Dikika Research Project (DRP) had been working at Dikika, Ethiopia since 1999. Among the many paleontological discoveries is a remarkably preserved partial skeleton of a juvenile Australopithecus afarensis (DIK‐1‐1 also nicknamed “Selam.”) recovered at the Locality DIK‐1 between 2000 and 2003. The ca. three years old presumed female comes from sediments ca. 3.3 Ma in age and represents the earliest and most complete juvenile fossil ever found. The find consists of the whole skull, with a natural brain endocast, the entire rib cage, hand phalanges, distal end of the right humerus, both knees and an almost complete foot. Also, included are skeletal parts that were previously little known from the early part of the hominin fossil record, including the hyoid bone, and the shoulder blades. The Dikika girl documents, for the first time, the complete skull morphology of juvenile Australopithecus afarensis and any early hominin older than 3 million years. The femora, the tibiae and the foot preserve evidence that this ancient species walked upright even at the age of three. However the two shoulder blades share shape similarities to those of gorillas. The fingers are also long and curved, as seen in other Australopithecus afarensis specimens raising some questions concerning the role of arboreality in this species. Among the rare finds is the hyoid bone. Its morphology in the Dikika girl is similar to that of African great apes and different from that of humans. The scientific significance of the new find is manifold, contributing substantially to our understanding of the morphology, body plan, behavior, movement and developmental patterns of our early ancestors. After full cleaning and preparation of the fossil we will be able to reconstruct, for the first time, much of an entire body of a 3 year‐old Australopithecus afarensis child —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.16.183.158 (talk) 20:28, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Lucy's skeletal completion[edit]

At the top of the page it claims that Lucy is nearly 40% complete, while according to my sources she is 47 out of 207 bones[1] which is closer to 23% complete. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Arthur.science (talkcontribs) 19:35, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps big bones are being counted as bringing more "completion" than small bones. Evercat (talk) 19:44, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

That's an interesting suggestion and brings up a more interesting point: completion percentage is vague and unless there is some kind of scientific construct as to how completion percentage should be calculated I think we should probably leave it out altogether.Arthur.science (talk) 20:33, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

The BBC source cited says "They eventually unearthed 47 bones of a skeleton - nearly 40% of a hominid, or humanlike creature, that lived around 3.2 million years ago." Johanson 1981 p. 22 says several hundred pieces of bone representing about 40% of the skeleton of a single individual, and I've rephrased the lead to reflect that source as well as adding an inline citation to it. The calculation "is closer to 23% complete" is original research coming to a conclusion which contradicts the sources cited in the article, and original research is unsuitable for Wikipedia. Trust you're happier with the current version. . . dave souza, talk 21:00, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

If there are verifiable reports that Lucy has 47 bones, and verifiable reports that A. afarensis has 207 bones, it's not original research to say that 23% of the bones have been found. However as I noted above, that doesn't seem to be how the figure was determined. I assume the figure is from (weight of bones found) / (expected weight of complete skeleton) or somesuch, which is also a sane way of doing it. Evercat (talk) 12:00, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

So I emailed Donald Johanson to ask, and he said 40% was roughly (bones found) / (total bones - hand and foot bones), which seems about right. This is, of course, totally non-citeable. Evercat (talk) 19:43, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Mandibular Studies[edit]

I have another article to link to as a citation but I don't want to mess up the page: http://www.pnas.org/content/104/16/6568 Reybeez (talk) 15:47, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for bringing this forward, http://www.pnas.org/content/104/16/6568.abstract is already cited as inline cite no. 17. However, it's a useful reminder to improve the citation style, will try the cite doi trick! . . dave souza, talk 16:31, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Reference to broken DOI[edit]

A reference was recently added to this article using the Cite DOI template. The citation bot tried to expand the citation, but could not access the specified DOI. Please check that the DOI doi:10.1073 has been correctly entered. If the DOI is correct, it is possible that it has not yet been entered into the CrossRef database. Please complete the reference by hand here. The script that left this message was unable to track down the user who added the citation; it may be prudent to alert them to this message. Thanks, Citation bot 2 (talk) 16:40, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks to Evercat for fixing this, should be
Rak, Y.; Ginzburg, A.; Geffen, E. (2007). "Gorilla-like anatomy on Australopithecus afarensis mandibles suggests Au. Afarensis link to robust australopiths". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104 (16): 6568. doi:10.1073/pnas.0606454104.  edit
My mistake! . . dave souza, talk 17:30, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

You're welcome. Evercat (talk) 19:21, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Lucy[edit]

Lucy was the first known human ancestor. == — Preceding unsigned comment added by 204.112.172.84 (talk) 22:17, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Plug?[edit]

"The tour was approved by the Ethiopian government and organized in collaboration with the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where it had been on display from August 31, 2007 until September 1, 2008, along with an original Digital Dome Theater (Planetarium) feature film about the origins of lucy called Lucy’s Cradle, the Birth of Wonder, featuring music by Shai Fishman, recorded and produced at Fish-i Studios - http://www.fish-i.com.[19]"

Sounds very much like a plug imho. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.207.200.94 (talk) 17:57, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Hominin vs hominid in first paragraph[edit]

In the first paragraph, 3rd sentence, the word hominid is linked to the article for hominins. Either the link or the word should be changed.

Also, that paragraph says that Ardi is the earliest known hominid. I'm not an expert on human evolution but that doesn't seem right to me. First, both the article on [[5]] and the article cited in the notes section seem to indicate it's the oldest skeleton but not oldest fossil. Also, should this also be hominin here instead of hominid? I would have to guess it's not the oldest hominid fossil though maybe it's the oldest complete hominid skeleton as well as hominin skeleton.

Thanks for anyone's attention to this.

Tejonoso (talk) 09:48, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Ongoing tour[edit]

I suppose the "six-year" tour is August 2007 to sometime 2013. Right?

"Lucy has been open at Discovery Times Square Exposition, a new facility located in New York City since June 24, 2009. The Australopithecus afarensis was on display until October 25, 2009.[24]"

Some update may be valuable. --P64 (talk) 23:02, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Johanson co-author Maitland Edey[edit]

Johanson and Maitland A. Edey won the U.S. National Book Award (Science) for Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind (1981).[6] Is Edey a professional science writer, not paleo.? --P64 (talk) 23:02, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Hominid?[edit]

It says Lucy was among the earliest "hominids" - aren't hominids a much broader group? Twin Bird (talk) 21:46, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Yes, this was written before the change in nomemclature. It is supposed to be hominin now. I fixed it. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:09, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

"Derived"[edit]

The word "derived" is used a couple of times in this article. Even after looking up the meaning, it's unclear what it means in this context. Can someone suggest a different wording of those sections or at least add an explanation of how they use the word "derived" in paleontology?

--DougEngland (talk) 15:50, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

It would help us if you indicated where in the text you find the word. Ckruschke (talk) 15:25, 5 February 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke
Derived when used in relation to evolution refers to traits or features that have a more recent evolutionary history and are unique to a line. For example, "Her greater trochanter, however, was clearly derived, being short and human-like rather taller than the femoral head," means that trait evolved since splitting from her ancestor. Hope this helps, Jack (talk) 15:40, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Jack's explanation is correct. I also struggled with the terms primitive and derived (and the old term "advanced") when I first came across them in this context. To me they seem old jargon , and primitive still jars of old ideas of the 'direction' of evolution, but any alternative seems clumsy.In context of comparing a thing with its ancestor, Derived = later evolved characteristic not present in the ancestor , Primitive = a characteristic shared with the ancestor. Perhaps improve the articles on the terms and inline link them is the solution. 213.133.141.248 (talk) 21:23, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

"Adieu Lucy" (?)[edit]

I've removed the following recently added bit from the lead:

There is debate over whether Australopithecus can be considered an ancestor of modern man. The French magazine Science et Vie made this its cover story for its May 1999 issue. The story dealt with Lucy, the best-known fossil specimen of Australopithecus afarensis, under the title "Adieu Lucy,"and wrote of the need to remove Australopithecus from the human family tree. The article, based on the discovery of a new Australopithecus, code number St W573, stated:
"A new theory states that the genus Australopithecus is not the root of the human race…The results arrived at by the only woman authorized to examine St W573 are different from the normal theories regarding mankind's ancestors: this destroys the hominid family tree. Large primates, considered the ancestors of man, have been removed from the equation of this family tree… Australopithecus and Homo (human) species do not appear on the same branch. Man's direct ancestors are still waiting to be discovered."<ref>Isabelle Bourdial, "Adieu Lucy," Science et Vie, May 1999, no. 980, pp. 52-62</ref>

Seems it would belong in the Criticisms section if anywhere. Has this 1999 pub received any attention or is this "new theory" re the family tree just one person's idea? Vsmith (talk) 01:28, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

I think its "one person's idea" - especially considering none of this has turned up in the popular press in the intervening 15 yrs. People in the field are still doggedly holding onto Lucy as Homo Sapiens progeniter despite all the issues that it includes. Ckruschke (talk) 18:01, 9 May 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
Having quickly looked through our article, I've not noticed anywhere that it says A. Afarensis was considered an ancestor of modern man, or the root of the human race. Could you point out any wording that implies such concepts? Offtopic for this article, but more broadly the genus Australopithecus is in the tribe Hominini which includes Homo and our article currently says they're ancestral. Any changes needed there? . . dave souza, talk 21:09, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
dave souza - The following sentence is the second sentence in the lede for A. Afarensis: "It is thought that A. afarensis was more closely related to the genus Homo (which includes the modern human species Homo sapiens), whether as a direct ancestor or a close relative of an unknown ancestor, than any other known primate from the same time." Appears to me its a pretty clear "probably". Why this sentence or a variation thereof is not on this page is anyone's guess. Seems to me some sort of edit needs to be made to square the Lucy article with the larger A. Afarensis page. Ckruschke (talk) 18:00, 13 May 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
The source cited in that other article appears to refer to Australopithecus generally rather than A. Afarensis and makes no mention of Lucy. Can you find a source specifically referring to this individual?. . . dave souza, talk 18:19, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
This article discusses a new forebear to Lucy/A.Afar which goes onto state that homo sapiens flowing from Ardi through Lucy/A.Afar to modern humans (http://discovermagazine.com/2011/may/25-homo-sapiens-meet-new-astounding-family)
This article spcifically mentions Lucy as a pre-hominid and thus a forbear of humans (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/prehistoric_life/human/human_evolution/mother_of_man1.shtml).
Heck the Encyclopedi Britanica specifically mentions Lucy as a pre-hominid ancestor of man (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1350865/Homo-sapiens).
The Smithsonian Institute page has a long discussion on all the hominids and pre-hominids. The statement on A.Afar in particular and Lucy specifically is essentially the same as the one I copied from the A.Afar page above. (http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/australopithecus-afarensis)
Not exactly sure why you are splitting hairs so finely, Dave. I guess if you don't think the content is viable/germaine, just say so. To continually ask me for a source when I'm either stating my opinion or reading directly from another, sourced, Wiki article is somewhat "odd"... Ultimately, I'm not married to the info so it can come or go - I don't care - just trying to improve the page... Ckruschke (talk) 19:37, 14 May 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
I'm concerned because the concept of "ancestral" can be misleading. The Smithsonian, for example, clearly shows A. afarensis as one of a group forming a side-branch of the evolutionary bush of species more or less closely related to homo. Agree that Discover says " Ardi is the perfectly logical precursor to Lucy, a small-bodied human ancestor that lived more than a million years after Ardi", but the chance of us being directly descended from Lucy must be vanishingly small. Britannica covers it pretty well: describing the evolutionary pattern as "a vast and intricately branching bush" rather than direct ancestry, in which "It is difficult to say how the wide variety of early hominins were interrelated." So I accept that there are sources highlighting Lucy's place in this pattern, but we need to show the pattern rather than suggesting simple linear ancestry. . dave souza, talk 20:33, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

"NOT the missing link"[edit]

Evolutionary scientists will NEVER learn (see the Piltdown man and the Nebraska Man). Just for starters, she's just an ape; however, I will first provide two websites to the controversy of the latest 'finding' - although this theory of her being a precursor to humankind has been debunked for a few decades now - that was once presupposed to be man's prehistoric ancestor, called 'Lucy'. (http://www.creationtips.com/lucy.html) and (http://www.forerunner.com/forerunner/X0714_Lucy_fails_test.html). Shortly, I will attempt to expand the Criticisms section to include and paraphrase this information. Needless to say, if you would like any additional references I can include a dozen more.shyjayb 20:22, 31 July 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shyjayb (talkcontribs)

Lucy was supposed to be a missing sausage? Who knew!
To point the obvious, creationtips.com comes under WP:PSCI and is not a reliable source for science. Unlikely that any of your proposals merit any coverage, per WP:WEIGHT policy. As for Piltdown man and the Nebraska Man, you're making a bit of a pig of this, look up the TalkOrigins Archive index to creationist claims if you seek enlightenment. All the best, dave souza, talk 20:40, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Greetings and thank you for coming front and center you clod! But I was only being modest by the numbers in sources; for I could start at the top with about another 3-400 of them when it comes to how many ways, sizes, shapes and forms I can dethrone and dismiss this 'Lucy' as just another hoax or swine that you think I'm making of this. And since you want to be the jester I just may humor you, but I will not start edit warring. Many thanks again.shyjayb 01:59, 3 August 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shyjayb (talkcontribs)

Someone really needs to edit the fact that this page gives the impression that Lucy is without a doubt a Australopithecus - an supposed common ancestor of the human. This is widely debated and therefore the article should reflect this. Perhaps the language in the first paragraph should indicate that Lucy has only been alleged to have been a common ancestor. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.14.220.26 (talk) 13:24, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

There is no such debate that I know of in academia. Perhaps there is among creationsists bhut their views are irrelevant to this page. It is widely and generally accepted that Lucy is a specimen of Australopithecus afarensis. it is also widely agreed that some Australopithecus species, though probably not Afarensis is the direct ancestor of the genus Homo.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:52, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
Eh? The first paragraph doesn't say anything about a common ancestor. Lucy is clearly an Australopithecus, what reliable sources say otherwise? .. dave souza, talk 15:31, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ Johanson, Donald & Blake Edgar. From Lucy to Language. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006. Print.