Lucy, I’m home!

After some initial brainstorming and conversations about our goals for the project, the team hit the road to see the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) in person and meet with Denise Su,
Curator and Head of Paleobotany & Paleoecology as well as the Director of Partnerships & Programs.

Denise gave us a guided tour of the museum’s collections and showed us around the rarely-accessible archives.

The image that headlines this entry is an interpretation of what’s directly above, which is to say the very first plaster cast made of Lucy, otherwise known as the Australopithecus Afarensis┬áspecimen AL 288-1. We’ll stick to calling her Lucy, though. She was discovered by Donald Johanson of the CMNH in modern-day Ethiopia in 1971. Lucy lived somewhere in the range of 3.2 million years ago, and is famous particularly for exhibiting evidence of bipedalism in hominins long before brain size increased in descendant species.

Also of interest was this fossil of a Dunkleosteus terrelli, a massive armored prehistoric fish that once lived in what is now modern-day Northeastern Ohio, over 350 million years ago.

Denise was incredibly gracious with her time and answered many questions we had about the collections and the museum itself. We returned to Pittsburgh with plenty of inspiration for directions to take our experience in.

Next week we’ll be going into some more detail about the experience we plan to make!