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This particular species was named as fossil remains were first found in the Afar region of northern Ethiopia.

Perhaps the most famous of all the early hominid fossils known is that of “Lucy” a female nicknamed “Lucy” after the discoverers were listening to the Beatles track “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” when the fossils were first located.

However, other palaeoanthropologists have urged caution. The authors of the report state that the bones indicate that human ancestors used sharp stones to carve meat from the carcasses of large animals and other stones to smash bones to get to the marrow.

For a good discussion of the hominid/hominin terminology issue, read this article by Lee Berger.

Her anatomical features lie squarely in between those of humans and other apes, showing adaptations both for walking upright on two legs and for climbing and swinging from trees.

This suggests that the species lived on the cusp of the human familys transition to a bipedal, ground-based existence, which is generally accepted as one of the most crucial events in the emergence of the modern anatomy.

Lucy is not the only early example of skeletons or partial skeletons have been found in the Hadar region from about a half-dozen sites.

Two hundred sixteen of them were found at AL 333; together with Al-288 are referred to as "the First Family", and they all date between 3.7 and 3.0 million years ago.

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