Lucy Long Ago: Uncovering the Mystery of Where We Came From
Lucy Long Ago: Uncovering the Mystery of Where We Came From
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Annotation: From the discovery of Lucy's bones in Ethiopia, to the process of recovering them, this book shows how a pile of 47 bones led scientists to discover a new and very old species of hominid, ancestral to humans.
Genre: Paleontology
Catalog Number: #35645
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition Date: 2009
Pages: 63 pages
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 0-547-05199-9 Perma-Bound: 0-605-24198-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-547-05199-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-24198-5
Dewey: 569.9
LCCN: 2008036761
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Thimmesh examines the discovery of and research surrounding Lucy, the most complete early hominid skeleton found to date. The text clearly details what scientists are able to extrapolate from Lucy's bones, often by comparing them to our own skeletons and those of other primates. Explanatory sidebars, diagrams, and excellent photographs of fossils and reconstructed hominids round out this substantive package. Websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Kirkus Reviews
The 1974 discovery of the fossilized partial skeleton of a small-brained primate who apparently walked upright 3.2 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia significantly changed accepted theories about human origins. Step by step, Thimmesh presents the questions the newly discovered bones raised and how they were answered. Using interviews and quotations from the specialists involved, she explains the work of biological and paleoanthropologists, geochronologists, and paleo-artists and shows how the hominid find now known as Lucy (or Dinkenesh, "beautiful one") helped turn the human family tree into something more like a bush. Sidebars clarify important concepts: hominids, evolution, fossilization, the scientific method (and its use of the word "theory") and the process of making plaster casts. Illustrations include photographs from the discovery, a map and helpful diagrams and pictures of comparative skeletal parts and of a life-sized Extensive research, clear organization and writing, appropriate pacing for new ideas and intriguing graphics all contribute to this exceptionally accessible introduction to the mystery of human origins, timed to accompany Lucy's six-year tour of U.N.EWSLUGS museums. (glossary, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 5-10 The Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was playing the night paleoanthropologist Donald Johnson found the first fossilized remains of the hominid that became known around the world as Lucy. This extraordinary discovery changed how scientists understood one of the basic concepts of human evolutionit proved that our ancestors began walking upright before the size of their brains increased. Thimmesh uses this discovery to explore several topics in the fields of anthropology and evolutional biology, such as how the bones were fossilized, the process for deciding that Lucy belonged to a previously unknown species ( Australopithecus afarensis ), and the cast-making process that allowed biological anthropologist Owen Lovejoy to reconstruct her pelvis and prove that she was bipedal. The author even touches upon what fossils cant teach us about our ancestorstheir emotions and family patterns. The final chapter discusses the process used by paleoartist John Gurche to create a life-size sculpture of Lucy. The books greatest strength is how it underscores the fluidity of our understanding in a field like anthropology; it shows how one discovery can change the thinking of scientists in a dramatic way. This book also emphasizes the rigor of the sciences that study our human ancestors and explains clearly how these scientists carefully take the known to formulate new ideas about the unknown parts of our human history. The clear writing, excellent photographs, and the unique approach of exploring the field of anthropology through one spectacular specimen make this book a first purchase. Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* With unexpected simplicity and even poetry, Thimmesh uses two beginnings to tell the story of the hominid who changed humans' family tree. First is the day "it crumpled to the ground." Sand and silt covered it for more than three million years. The next beginning is in 1974 Ethiopia, when a scientist discovers a piece of elbow in the sediment. Donald Johnson and his team found not just bones but also a partial skeleton of a hominid. His team danced with joy (with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds playing in the background, hence the skeleton's eventual name). After capturing the mood of the discovery, the book proceeds to explain why it was so important, how Lucy was studied, and the ways she changed scientific thought. Attractively designed (especially effective are the spreads of bones on pitch-black pages), the book also makes great use of sidebars. Some offer insight into various tangential elements of the discovery, including the theory of evolution, the scientific method, etc., while others discuss how scientists find answers in the physical evidence. Some of the photos are bland, but the final portrait of Lucy as she may have looked is a stunner. Like the investigative method itself, this sparks questions and also answers them.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (page 62) and index.
Word Count: 6,489
Reading Level: 8.3
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 8.3 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 129997 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:10.7 / points:6.0 / quiz:Q47374
Lexile: 1130L

Illustrated in full color with stunning computer-generated artwork and with rare paleo photography, this story of scientific sleuthing invites readers to wonder what our ancestors were like and recounts the discovery of the remains of Lucy, the world's most famous hominid.

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