Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Old Baby in the New Media
This month's feature article by Kate Wong, "Lucy's Baby," represents something both very old and very new. The old has been christened Selam, a tiny being who was born 3.3 million years ago but did not live past her third birthday. Contrary to the nickname by which she has also come to be well known, Selam was most definitely not a child of Lucy, the Australopithecus afarensis female whose skeleton was famously unearthed in 1974--Selam predated Lucy by more than 100,000 years. (Yet incongruity trumps chronology: it seems equally wrong to refer to a baby as "Lucy's grand­mother.") Those two australpithecines were probably about as distantly related as any one of us is to the first modern humans to spread out from Africa.

Not a whole lot there.