Jerry and I just got back from a day-long seminar on Science and Faith in San Diego. It was weighted heavily toward science rather than faith, unless you count the faith of Darwinists in unguided evolution. We listened to PhDs presenting the case for Intelligent Design in physics, cosmology, biology, and paleoanthropology. (My father was an anthropologist, so I can spell it.)
Lucy was reconstructed from bits of bone scattered across a hillside. It’s not positive whether all the bones came from the same species, much less the same person.
Pacific Science Center, where she is exhibited, assumes they do. They say she has a “chimpanzee-like head perched atop a human-like body.” Other scientists challenge the claim that her body is human-like, pointing out there is good evidence she “knuckle-walked” and that her entire skeleton “retain(s) several traits that would be very suitable for climbing in trees.” But not for running, according to paleontologist Peter Schmid.
Dr. Schmid writes, “When I started to put [Lucy’s] skeleton together, I expected it to look human. . . so I was surprised at what I saw. . . The shoulders were high, and, combined with the funnel-shaped chest, would have made arm swinging very improbable in the human sense. It wouldn’t have been able to lift its thorax for the kind of deep breathing that we do when we run. . .”
Whether Lucy is seen as “man” or ape or something in-between, whether she is a single individual or a composite, may be biased by what a particular scientist wants or expects to find. Those determined to see her as a fully walking ape, a missing link between man and beast, dismiss as irrelevant the design of her hand-bones. Drs. Collard and Aiello, who pointed out that Lucy’s species could “knuckle-walk,” discarded the evidence as a trait left over from her ape-ish ancestors.
But Science writer Jeremy Cherfas objected, “[Animals] do not often retain traits that they do not use, and to find those same features in species 2 million years later makes it most unlikely that they are remnants.”
This is just one tiny sample–about five minutes’ worth–of what we heard at the seminar. It was stimulating.
Reconstruction can be more of an art than a science, especially when it comes to fleshing out those bones. For a museum display reconstructionists use poetic license to give a partial skeleton like Lucy’s whatever facial expression–brutish or Rodin-esque–, color of skin, hair and eyes they wish or cover her body with hair, wool, or feathers.
This is my reconstruction of Lucy: