Big news on the anthropology front. A new dating technique has raised serious doubts about whether humans are related to Lucy at all. It all comes down to the age of Little Foot, a fossil which now seems to indicate that either species might have been the human ancestor.
io9 has a great breakdown of the finding and what it may mean.
The nearly-complete skeletal remains of Little Foot, an ancient female hominid named after its four small foot bones, were uncovered in South Africa’s Sterkfontein Cave over 20 years ago. Scientists have been debating the age of the Australopithecus fossil ever since, with consensus settling around the 2.2 million year mark.
But now, a sophisticated new dating technique, called isochron burial dating, suggests the fossil is 3.67 million years old — give or take an incredibly small margin of 160,000 years. By using radioisotopes within the rock samples covering the remains, the scientists were able to accurately date when the rocks and the fossil were first buried.
— George Dvorsky, New Fossil Dating Technique Casts Doubt On Human Origins
Someone should tell Luc Besson before he makes another awful movie.1
I kid, I kid. I actually like Luc Besson’s work in general, but that doesn’t change the fact that Lucy was pretty bad. ↩︎