Classic Ethiopia Tours

Lucy (Australopithecus)

Lucy (also given a second (Amharic) name: dinqineš, or “Dinkenesh,” meaning “You are beautiful” or "you are wonderful") is the common name of AL 288-1, several hundred pieces of bone representing about 40% of the skeleton of an individual Australopithecus afarensis. The specimen was discovered in 1974 at Hadar in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia's Afar Depression. Lucy is estimated to have lived 3.2 million years ago. The discovery of this hominid was significant as the skeleton shows evidence of small skull capacity akin to that of apes and of bipedal upright walk akin to that of humans, providing further evidence that bipedalism preceded increase in brain size in human evolution. In 1994, a new hominid, Ardi, was found, pushing back the earliest known hominid date to 4.4 million years ago, although details of this discovery were not published until October 2009.

Discovery

French geologist, Maurice Taieb discovered the Hadar Formation in 1972. He then formed the International Afar Research Expedition (IARE), inviting Donald Johanson, an American anthropologist, and Founding Director of the Institute of Human Origins of Arizona State University, Mary Leakey, a British archaeologist, and Yves Coppens, a French born paleontologist now based at the Collège de France to co-direct the research. An expedition was formed with four American and seven French participants, and in the autumn of 1973 the team surveyed Hadar, Ethiopia for fossils and artifacts related to the origin of humans.

In November 1973, near the end of the first field season, Johanson noticed a fossil of the upper end of a shinbone, which had been sliced slightly on the front. The lower end of a thighbone was found near to it, and when he fitted them together the angle of the knee joint clearly showed that this fossil, reference AL 129-1, was an upright walking hominid. Over three million years old, the fossil was much older than any others known at the time. The site lay about two and a half kilometres from the site at which they subsequently found "Lucy".

The team returned for the second field season in the following year and found hominid jaws. Then, on the morning of November 24, 1974, near the Awash River, Johanson abandoned a plan to update his field notes and joined graduate student, Tom Gray from Texas State, in taking their Land Rover to Locality 162 to search for bone fossils.

 

Historical Attraction sites

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The Axum Kingdom

Thursday, 27 May 2010

AXUM in its day was a great commercial centre, issuing its own currency and trading with Egypt, Arabia, Persia, India and even Ceylon. The settlement was also the site of Ethiopia's oldest church, which dated back to the coming of ...

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Lalibela

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Lalibela a  medieval settlement in the Lasta area of Wallo, lies at the centre of an extensive complex of rock churches. Some can be reached by one or two hours'  drive, others are a full day's journey. Lalibela has 11 ...

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Gonder

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Gonder was the 17th Century capital of Ethiopia, and is notable for its medieval Castles and churches. The City's unique imperial compound contains a number of Castles built between 1632 and 1855 by the various Emperors who reigned during this ...

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Harar City

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The city of Harar is an ancient (1520) and holy city. Always an important trading centre, the city is famous for its ancient buildings, its great city walls and as a centre of learning muslim scholarship ( the town has ...

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Bahar Dar

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Bahar Dar is a small town set on the south - eastern shore of lake Tana, where local fishermen still use papyrus boats, and just 30 km from the spectacular Tissisat Falls. Here the Blue Nile creates " Smoking Water" ...

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Debre Damo

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Debre Damo monastery is situated on an isolated mountain in northern part of Tigray. It is unique compared with most Ethiopian monasteries. Debre Damo was built, in the sixth century AD, with curved wood panels, painted ceilings and walls dedicated ...

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Lucy (Australopithecus)

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Lucy (also given a second (Amharic) name: dinqineš, or “Dinkenesh,” meaning “You are beautiful” or "you are wonderful") is the common name of AL 288-1, several hundred pieces of bone representing about 40% of the skeleton of an individual Australopithecus ...

Read more
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Yeha

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The oldest standing structure in Ethiopia is located in Yeha: the Great Temple. This is a tower built in the Sabaean style, and dated through comparison with dated structures in South Arabia to around 700 BC; although no radiocarbon dating ...

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Holy Trinity Cathedral

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Cathedral commemorates Ethiopia's liberation from five years of Italian occupation. It is also the second most important place of worship in Ethiopia (after St. Maram in Axum), and the ...

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