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Pre-human “Lucy” climbed trees: Study
The pre-human “Lucy” either lived in trees or at least spent a lot of time in trees, a new analysis of the little hominid’s skeleton suggested.
A tem of researchers from that Johns Hopkins University and University of Texas conducted scans of Lucy’s skeleton, a more than three million years old fossil that is also known as AL 288-1. Bone scans showed that Lucy’s upper arms had been thicker and stronger than her thigh bones. The same pattern is found in chimpanzees.
The researchers said that while Lucy clearly walked upright on the ground, the new study showed that she spent a lot of time climbing, hanging and hoisted herself about in the trees.
Paleoanthropologist John Kappelman, a coauthor of the study, said, “The most likely explanation is that Lucy climbed trees with a greater reliance on her upper extremity much more frequently than modern humans or early Homo.”
CT scans, a type of souped up x-ray, allowed researchers to compare the relative thickness and strength of arm bones to leg bones. It suggests which bones get used more. For exmaple, gymnasts have thicker and stronger arm bones than most people.
The researchers detailed their new finding about Lucy in the most recent edition of Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE.