In Brief

Human Ancestor 'Lucy' Ends US Tour

The famous fossil returned to Ethiopia this week. (Image credit: AP Photo/Les Neuhaus)

"Lucy," the famous, 40-percent-complete fossil of one of our human ancestors, returned to Ethiopia this week after a five-year U.S. tour, CBS reported.

The 3.2-million-year-old specimen was discovered by American paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson and his team in the Afar region of Ethiopia in 1974. Lucy, who would have stood barely over 3-and-a-half feet tall, belongs to an extinct cousin of modern humans known as Australopithecus afarensis and is among our earliest known relatives known to walk upright.

Some researchers had worried the trip that took Lucy to 11 U.S. cities starting in 2007 would be too risky for the fragile fossil specimen. But during Lucy's homecoming this week, Ethiopian scientist Zeresenay Alemseged told CBS that he was "confident that she was secured both from the protection point of view and also the security point of view."

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Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.