Over the weekend I went to the Pacific Science Center to view the “Lucy” exhibit. The fossil was the first discovered Australopithecus afarensis and is designated AL 288-1 in the catalog. Lucy is 3.2 million years old and is a crucially important specimen as she reflects bipedal posture but has the smaller cranial capacity associated with apes. This fossil is considered extremely fragile, to the degree that the Smithsonian declined to accept it for display on its US tour.
The balance of the “Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia ” exhibit contains historical and cultural artifacts from Ethiopia. Some of the displays reflect the varied history of this unconquered African nation proudly reflecting that is the birthplace of coffee and Rastafarianism, and is reputed to be the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
One gallery contains several comparative studies in anatomy and locomotion, exiting onto a nicely designed ramp exhibit with display cases containing skulls of hominids, starting with very early species and moving forward through time as you ascend the ramp. All the items on display are quite interesting, but the star of the attraction is held until the final gallery.
If you have not viewed this exhibit I’d strongly recommend getting tickets before it leaves Seattle on March 8. You may never get a chance to see this fossil again.