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Johanson, Donald

found hominid million age

(1943– ) US palaeoanthropologist: discovered Australopithecus afarensis, the oldest hominid yet found.

After graduating in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1966, Johanson conducted research in Chicago and Alaska before joining an archaeological expedition to the Omo River, southern Ethiopia, from 1970–2. He then turned his attention to Afar, in north-eastern Ethiopia, where he and Maurice Taieb had found fossil-bearing beds of considerable age. In 1973 he discovered the remains of a knee joint of a previously unknown hominid in deposits over 3 million years old, at that time the earliest conclusive evidence of man’s bipedalism. A partial skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis was found by Johanson the following year, a female of about 20 years of age and 1.2m in height which he nicknamed ‘Lucy’ and which was then the earliest known ancestor of man, about 3.1 million years old and so almost a million years more ancient than any other hominid then known. Her name was taken from a Beatles’ song.

John, John P. [next] [back] Johansen, Dorothy O. (1904–) - Pacific Northwest History

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