Scientists unearth 3.3-million-year-old toddler
Meant to get this one up yesterday but failed. Anyhoo, scientists are hailing the recent unearthing of a fossilized human-like child in Ethiopia.
The child, estimated to have been about three years old at the time of her death about 3.3 million years ago, is from the Australopithecus afarensis species. This important human ancestor is the same species as “Lucy,” the adult skeleton found in the same region in 1974.
Scientists are pleased by the remarkable fact that some of her more delicate bones, not generally preserved in fossilization, remain intact. Also remarkable is the fact that her brain — about the size of a similarly-aged chimpanzee — demonstrates tremendous growth potential when compared to the brain size of her older species-mate. This, scientists say, demonstrates slow, gradual development, a trait particular to humans. And judging by the length of her arms, they think she could climb trees like an ape.
Meanwhile, rumor has it that Lucy, or “Dinknesh” as she’s known in Ethiopia, is preparing to make her first foreign exhibition. She’s supposedly set to appear in 10 U.S. cities.
The unearthing of Lucy’s little friend and the triumph of evolutionary science brings me joy, as last year at this time I was sitting in Dover, Pa. listening to creationists make, well, monkeys out of themselves.