September 14, 2007
I Love Lucy

I got to see Lucy at the Houston Museum of Natural Science this week - free entry as a part of a science education leadership meeting - along with a tour by the exhibit's curator, Dirk Van Tuerenhout. Dirk is a great tour guide - knows his stuff inside and out and throws in the funniest commentary.

(Side note - it was great to see my former colleagues during my visit - waves to Joel, Dirk, David and Larissa.)

The exhibit is in town through April 20, 2008 and it is a must see. This is something I never imagined I would experience and it really was a thrill. Lucy has only been on exhibit twice in her home country - Ethiopia. It's impossible to describe gazing down at her 40% complete fossilized skeleton, knowing she was a living, breathing being on our planet 3.2 million years ago, and part of our human family "bush."

You have to discard the notion of a human family tree and understand that there were many ancestral lines that died out, with only one that led to our current species - homo sapiens sapiens (which as Dirk pointed out, means "human smart smart - in case you didn't get it, we are very smart!). Lucy was an Australopithecus afarensis, not human, but able to walk upright, was around three and a half feet tall and weighed 60-65 pounds.

Dirk reminded us that in our DNA is an archive of all of our ancestors - the common primate ancestor we all have and way back beyond that.

Read more about Lucy at Dirk's blog.

Posted by Martha Griffin on September 14, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston