How Lucy Died and Why It Matters
Thursday, 02 Nov 2017 at 7:00 pm – Great Hall, Memorial UnionJohn Kappelman, a paleoanthropologist and professor at the University of Texas at Austin, will discuss the most famous fossil in the world - Lucy, an ancient human ancestor found in Ethiopia in 1974 - and what her bones tell us about our evolutionary history. Using CT technology, Kappelman and his team identified a series of fractures in Lucy’s skeleton, which they interpreted as traumatic injuries resulting from a fall, most likely from high in a tree. Their findings on Lucy's cause of death, subsequently published in the journal Nature, suggest that Lucy may actually have been a tree dweller and are challenging scientists' understanding of human evolution.
John Kappelman is a professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. His interests include the evolutionary history of primates and especially hominoid and hominin origins and evolution, with a research focus in paleoecology, functional morphology, sedimentology and stratigraphy, paleomagnetism, and computer imaging.
Dr. Kappelman has conducted field work across Africa and Asia, with current projects on the Middle Stone Age of northwestern Ethiopia, Oligo-Miocene monkeys and hominoids of West Turkana, Kenya, and the geological history of the Ethiopian Plateau. He and his team have developed several websites including eSkeletons.org, eFossils.org, eAnthro.org, and eLucy.org.
Dr. Kappelman’s degrees include a B.S. in Geology and Geophysics from Yale University, and an A.M. in Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Earth and Planetary Sciences, both from Harvard University.
- World Languages & Cultures
- Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government)
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