Lucy (Excerpts from the Personal Diary of Donald Johanson)

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November 14th, What a day! For the past three weeks I’ve been in this wasteland, excavating the Hadar site with my colleague, Tom Gray, and the rest of our 20 person camp. There hasn’t been a single cloud in the sky since we got here, and the temperature has been well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I decided to go for a quick walk. I felt quite lucky today, but I didn’t know why. I walked behind a small hill and through a shallow riverbed before resting under a small tree. I watched a lizard run gently across the hot sand when I saw a strange stick poking up out of the ground. I walked over to it and realized it was a fossil!

November 15th, Returned to the site of discovery with Tom. We sketched out a graph of the area in which we found the bone. I immediately saw that the bone was a humerus, a human arm bone. We field jacketed the bone in burlap strips, and studied the bone in the afternoon.


November 18th, After just an hour at the site we found another bone, a fragment from the back of an early human’s skull.


November 21st, In the past few days Tom and I found numerous bone fragments, including part of a vertebrae, half of a pelvis bone, and a jaw bone.


November 23rd, Tom and I returned to the site a total of three times today, each time digging in a different place. We found fragments of cranium bones and rib bones.


November 25th, 2 more rib bone fragments, and 4 cranium fragments! Maybe an entire colony lived here!



November 28th, Five more rib bone fragments and a whole rib found along with 2 jaw bone fragments. I’m confident that this is a very important discovery.


November 30th, This morning we collected all of the bones and began studying them. Though they were starting to rot away and had mold on them, we pieced together that the bones formed a whole skeleton. This may be one of the most important archaeological discoveries of all time. Early humans always fascinated me, and that inspired me to become an archeologist in the first place. Tonight we will celebrate the discovery with our bottle of champagne.

December 1st, Today at breakfast we discussed the fossil from yesterday. Someone suggested we call her Lucy, after the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Everyone laughed at the suggestion, but the name stuck. Later this morning Tom asked when we were going home. I told him as soon as possible.





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