Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ethiopia's famed Lucy fossils to on display abroad for first time
One of the world's most famous fossils — the 3.2 million-year-old Lucy skeleton unearthed in Ethiopia in 1974 — is to travel to the United States, going on display abroad for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

Even the Ethiopian public has seen Lucy only twice — the Lucy exhibition at the Ethiopian Natural History Museum in the capital, Addis Ababa, is a replica; the real remains are usually locked in a vault. A team from the Museum of Natural Science in Houston, Texas, spent four years negotiating the U.S. tour, which will start in Houston next September.

That's worth travelling to go see, IMO. I didn't make a big effort to see the Tut exhibit (mainly because I've seen it all in the Cairo Museum a half dozen times), but this is something else. Confession: As a young undergraduate, Johanson's book was one of the things that kind of cemented the idea of archaeology into my head.

I'd started out as a computer science major, only to find programming linked lists in assembler to be, in a word, Dullsville. I'd started taking some archaeology/bioanth courses to satisfy the curriculum requirements and, seeing as I'd already had some interest in such things, kept taking them and switched majors. I think I read Lucy while taking a bone lab course. I would have ended up in bio/forensic anthro but I was too far along to do the whole medical curriculum that woud have been required to be worthwhile at it. Besides, archaeology was just as interesting to me. If you've never read it, pick up a used copy and give it a read.