On this Day:
In 1974, the most complete early human skeleton (“Lucy”, Australopithecus) was discovered by Donald Johanson, Maurice Taieb, Yves Coppens and Tim White in the Middle Awash of Ethiopia’s Afar Depression.
AL 288-1, commonly known as Lucy, is a collection of several hundred pieces of fossilized bone representing 40 percent of a female of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis. In Ethiopia, the assembly is also known as Dinkinesh, which means “you are marvelous” in the Amharic language. Lucy was discovered in 1974 in Africa, at Hadar, a site in the Awash Valley of the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia, by paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
The Lucy specimen is an early australopithecine and is dated to about 3.2 million years ago. The skeleton presents a small skull akin to that of non-hominin apes, plus evidence of a walking-gait that was bipedal and upright, akin to that of humans (and other hominins); this combination supports the view of human evolution that bipedalism preceded increase in brain size. A 2016 study proposes that Australopithecus afarensis was also to a large extent tree-dwelling, though the extent of this is debated.
“Lucy” acquired her name from the 1967 song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by the Beatles, which was played loudly and repeatedly in the expedition camp all evening after the excavation team’s first day of work on the recovery site. After public announcement of the discovery, Lucy captured much public interest, becoming a household name at the time.
Lucy became famous worldwide, and the story of her discovery and reconstruction was published in a book by Johanson. Beginning in 2007, the fossil assembly and associated artifacts were exhibited publicly in an extended six-year tour of the United States; the exhibition was called Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia. There was discussion of the risks of damage to the unique fossils, and other museums preferred to display casts of the fossil assembly. The original fossils were returned to Ethiopia in 2013, and subsequent exhibitions have used casts.
Lucy was 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall, weighed 29 kg (64 lb), and (after reconstruction) looked somewhat like a chimpanzee. The creature had a small brain like a chimpanzee, but the pelvis and leg bones were almost identical in function to those of modern humans, showing with certainty that Lucy’s species were hominins that had stood upright and had walked erect (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
Charlie’s wife, Lucy, had been after him for several weeks to paint the seat on their toilet.
Finally, he got around to doing it while Lucy was out. After finishing, he left to take care of another matter before she returned.
She came in and undressed to take a shower. Before getting in the shower, she sat on the toilet. As she tried to stand up, she realized that the not-quite-dry epoxy paint had glued her to the toilet seat.
About that time, Charlie got home and realized her predicament.
They both pushed and pulled without any success whatsoever.
Finally, in desperation, Charlie undid the toilet seat bolts. Lucy wrapped a sheet around herself and Charlie drove her to the hospital emergency room.
The ER Doctor got her into a position where he could study how to free her.
Lucy tried to lighten the embarrassment of it all by saying, “Well, Doctor, I’ll bet you’ve never seen anything like this before.”
The Doctor replied, “Actually, I’ve seen lots of them. I just never saw one mounted and framed.”
Second, a Song:
I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom that originally aired on CBS from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, with a total of 180 half-hour episodes, spanning over six seasons. The show starred Lucille Ball, her then real-life husband, Desi Arnaz, along with Vivian Vance and William Frawley. The series followed the life of Lucy Ricardo (Ball), a young, middle-class housewife living in New York City, who often concocted plans with her best friends, Ethel and Fred Mertz (Vance and Frawley), to appear alongside her bandleader husband, Ricky Ricardo (Arnaz), in his nightclub. Throughout the show, Lucy is depicted trying numerous schemes to mingle with and be a part of show business. After the series ended in 1957, a modified version of the show continued for three more seasons, with 13 one-hour specials, which ran from 1957 to 1960. It was first known as The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show, and later, in reruns, as The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour.
I Love Lucy became the most-watched show in the United States in four of its six seasons, and it was the first to end its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings. As of 2011, episodes of the show have been syndicated in dozens of languages across the world and remain popular with an American audience of 40 million each year. A colorized version of its Christmas episode attracted more than eight million viewers when CBS aired it in prime time in 2013, 62 years after the show premiered. CBS has aired two to three colorized episodes each year since then, once at Christmas, and again in the spring.
The show, which was the first scripted television program to be shot on 35mm film in front of a studio audience, by cinematographer Karl Freund, won five Emmy Awards and received numerous nominations and honors. It was the first show to feature an ensemble cast. As such, it is often regarded as both one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms in history. In 2012, it was voted the ‘Best TV Show of All Time’ in a survey conducted by ABC News and People magazine.
Here are Lucille Ball, Desi Arnez, Vivian Vance and William Frawley in the episode of I Love Lucy entitled “Lucy Does the Tango.” I hope your enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“Lucy brought with her an image of our human ancestors that you don’t get when you find a jaw or an arm bone or a leg bone. Here was 40 percent of a single skeleton.” – Donald Johanson
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky