Our hominid ancestor Lucy died after falling from tree, new analysis suggests

Lucy, the famed Australopithecus afarensis, may have died from falling out of a tree 3.18 million years ago, according to new forensic analysis. This video explains the reasoning behind the hypothesis.

The new analysis was completed by a multidisciplinary team affiliated with University of Texas at Austin, who published their findings in Nature this week:

Here we propose, on the basis of close study of her skeleton, that her cause of death was a vertical deceleration event or impact following a fall from considerable height that produced compressive and hinge (greenstick) fractures in multiple skeletal elements. Impacts that are so severe as to cause concomitant fractures usually also damage internal organs; together, these injuries are hypothesized to have caused her death.

The findings add to the spirited debate about how arboreal our ancestors were.

Perimortem fractures in Lucy suggest mortality from fall out of tall tree (Nature via SciNews)