Monday, August 27, 2007

Lucy's Legacy

Although I can trace my fascination with paleoanthropology (along with all other things paleo) back to early childhood, my first truly scholarly contact with the subject wasn't until high school, when I read Johanson & Edey's Lucy. It's actually one of the first "popular science" type works I can remember reading. For those of you unfamiliar with the work, it is Johanson's vivid and enthralling autobiographical account of finding "Lucy," a three million year old Australopithecus afarensis skeleton. Lucy is uniqe, not only in that she is an ancestor of genus Homo, but also in that she is 40% complete.

Suffice it say, then, that I am very excited about the Houston Museum of Natural Science's newest exhibit, "Lucy's Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia." The centerpiece will by Lucy herself, but the exhibit will also display more than 100 cultural artifacts of Ethiopian origin, including manuscripts and paintings of the ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Our pigeon-holing nature often makes it difficult for us to naturally associate any part of Africa with Christianity, but if I'm not mistaken, Orthodox Christianity is still the most practiced religion in Ethiopia (though I wouldn't be surprised if Islam has overtaken it by now), and it has a wonderfully rich cultural heritage.

The exhibit opens this Friday, and will run through April 2008; tickets are $12 with a student ID. Not to sound hyberbolic, but you really can't beat that price for this once in a lifetime chance to see Lucy. In 30+ years since her discovery, this will mark her first public display outside of Ethiopia - score one for the HMNS!

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At 12:14 PM, August 28, 2007, Blogger Brian said...

i'm down - let's check it out over the weekend...somewhere between the barrages of mad binge drinking


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