Who was the Australopithecus

Knowledge pool
Experiment kinship

In Africa there were at least eight different Australopithecus species, some of which lived close together. The most famous australopithecine is a woman. The scientists who discovered her bones in 1974 in a desert region of Ethiopia named her Lucy. Lucy belongs to the species Australopithecus afarensis. They were living beings between about 1.30 m and 1.60 m in height, with a brain volume of 300-550 cm3, which roughly corresponded to that of today's chimpanzees. They had a face with a low forehead, bones above the eyes, a flat nose and a protruding jaw.

Scientists deduce a variety of ways of life from the body structure characteristics. E.g. you know that with Australopithecus afarensis there was a pronounced sexual dimorphism, i.e. differences in male and female appearance that do not only relate to the genital organs. The males were much larger than the females. Today's gorillas also show this sexual dimorphism. They live in harems, with the large male watching over several female gorillas and their offspring. The difference in size can therefore allow conclusions to be drawn about the social behavior of the animals. Therefore it is believed that the group structure of the australopithecines might have had similarities to the gorillas.

© Text: Silka Harrer