Forty years ago today, Donald Johanson and Tom Gray were on their way back from surveying a bit of land in Hadar, Ethiopa. Johanson suggested they take a different route back to their Land Rover, maybe for a change of scenery. Very quickly he spotted the tip of a very important iceberg. It was the right forearm of a hominid.
A while later, they were sitting around a camp fire, overjoyed at having discovered the fossils of an upright walking early human ancestor, the radio blaring into the wilds around them. The song playing was Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles. Johanson was asked what he was going to call his great discovery. He said, loud and clear, “Lucy.” And so, the most famous Australopithecus afarensis was christened.
Lucy was still young but fully mature when she died by an unknown cause but she lives on through museum casts around the world.
I thought about how lucky Johanson was finding Lucy’s remains just ‘laying about’ on the dusty ground, as fossils are wont to do, as I started preparing the bed in front of the terrace. I found nothing but mud, leaves and a very dirty Emma.
I couldn’t start digging the bed until I’d moved the big, ugly plastic shed from the fence in front of my office. It was a struggle but eventually I had it sitting on bricks where the leaf trap was. I’m not that happy with its new position but it will be a lot easier to move next time.
I was while I was moving the shed that Emma managed to get filthy. For reasons known only to her tiny cocker-poo brain, she thought it was appropriate to help me by running through the muddiest bits of ground she could find. By the time the shed was settled into its new home, Emma was as black as Day-z (who had the sense to sit and watch).
If it hadn’t been for Lucy and her ken, walking around on two legs, I’d have been just as dirty. So, thank you Lucy.
And thank you Donald and Tom. If it hadn’t been for you two, I’d never have seen Houston, Texas.
Oh, and happy birthday(?) Lucy.