Registered as World Heritage site in 1980, the Awash valley contains one of the most important groupings of palaeontological sites on the African continent. The remains found at the site, the oldest of which date back at least 4 million years, provide evidence of human evolution which has modified our conception of the history of human kind. The most spectacular discovery came in 1974, when 52 fragments of a skeleton enabled the famous Lucy to be reconstructed in 1980. The Awash valley contains one of the most important groupings of palaetological sites on African continent. The remains found at the site, the oldest of which date back at least 4 million years, provide evidence of human evolution which has modified our conception of the history of human kind. The development that took place in the Lower Valley of Awash changed the history of mankind. The hominid remains excavated are characteristic of a unique type.

From 1973 to 1976, a team of international specialists working in the lower valley of the Awash excavated a large entire of extremely well-preserved human and animal fossils. These remains, the oldest of are at least 4 million years old, constitute evidence of human evolution which has modified the history of mankind. The most complete fossil found at this site is the remains of the skeleton of humanoid, certain traits of which link it with the australopithecine species whereas certain others place it with Homo sapiens. The most spectacular discovery came in 1974 at the site of Hadar, when 52 fragments of a skeleton enabled the famous hominid known as Lucy to be constructed. The term ‘hominid’ refers to a member of the zoological family Hominidae: hominids share a suite of characterstics which define them as a group. The most conspicuous of these traits is bipedal locomotion, or walking upright. As in a modern human’s skeleton, Lucy’s bones are full of evidence clearly pointing to bipedality. At Harar the size difference between males and female is very clear, with larger males and smaller females being fairly easy to distinguish: Lucy clearly fits into the smaller group.

The hominid-bearing sediments in the Harar formation are divided into three members. Lucy was found in the highest of these, the Kada Hadar member. Although fossils cannot be dated directly, the deposits in which they are found sometimes contain volcanic flows and ashes, which can be dated. According to these dates Lucy is dated to just less than 3.18 million BP years old.

Although several hundred fragments of hominid bone were found at the lucy site, there was no duplication of bones. The bones all come from an individual of a single species, a single size, and a single developmental age. In life, she would have stood about 1 meter tall and weighed 27-30 kg.

Source: Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage