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The Afar

The Afar:  The Afar Regional State, where the depression is found, is well known as one of the cradles of hominids, containing the Middle Awash, site of many fossil hominid discoveries such as Ardi, (ardipithecus ramidus); Gona (Gawis cranium), site of the world's oldest stone tools; and Hadar, site of Lucy, the fossilized specimen of Australopithecus afarensis. Many fossils have been found in the awash region, not only hominids but also elephantoids, crocodiles and hippopotamus. Australopithicus afarensis is a recently discovered Hominid species which lived in north east Africa, in the Hadar region of Ethiopia). Until 1995, this species was the earliest known member of the Hominid family. Australopithicus afarensis lived from approximately 4 to 2.7 million years ago along the northern Rift valley of east Africa, and perhaps even earlier.  Fragments of more than 300 individuals of Australopithicus afarensis have been discovered so far, including a remarkably complete skeleton of an adult female (nick- named "Lucy") shown above and to the right. "Lucy" was found in 1974 near Hadar in Ethiopia. Her skeleton has provided a wealth of information about the ancestral line of human beings, some of it quite surprising. The illustration on the right shows "Lucy" in comparison with a modern human female. She was only about 3 feet, 8 inches tall. Males were somewhat taller and twice as robust.

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