Lucy Long Ago
by Catherine Thimmesh

Price at time of review: $18.00
63 pp.
Houghton Mifflin Company
New York, NY
ISBN: 9780547051994

Grade Level: 6-8

Reviewed by CBC Reviewer

Readers follow paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson on his 1974 discovery of Lucy, the best-preserved hominid skeleton at the time. The skeleton of Australopithecus afarensus—a 3.2 million year old hominid that walked upright—challenged preconceptions about human evolution and the hominid family tree.

Lucy had a brain the size of a chimpanzee but walked upright. Johanson and scientists from all over the world worked to find out the answers to the many questions she raised, learning more about how human ancestors changed over time.

The author invites readers to imagine Lucy's death and then to participate in the methods of investigation that anthropologists use. With the discovery of Lucy's ancestor, Ardipithecus ramidus in 2009, this field of science has renewed interest. Although that discovery occurred after the first edition of this book was published, the methods and questions that are raised are still valid. A thorough index supports this NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2010. Students will learn not only about hominids but about scientific investigation. The book also offers a glossary and sources for further investigation.

Review posted on 1/27/2010

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