Sample Anthropology Admission Essay on Lucy: THE BEGINNING OF HUMAN KINDS

 ‘Lucy, the beginning of humankind’ is a story that describes the discovery of a fossil named Australopithecus Afarensis. This book focuses on an important scientific discovery of the oldest humanoid skeleton that was later named as ‘Lucy’. ‘Lucy’, a bipedal fossil came into existence in the year 1974 after its partial skeleton was found in a remote region within Ethiopian borders. ‘Lucy’, also described as the oldest, best-preserved skeleton of any erect-walking human ancestor added up to an array of hypothesis describing the human origin. The newly discovered fossil was named as ‘Lucy’ because of its pronounced morphological features. ‘Lucy’ was categorized as a pre-human female with two legs which she used for her locomotion activities. Donald Johanson, a renowned paleoanthropologist, made a controversial reinterpretation of the human evolution when he discovered the 3.5 million year old fossil. ‘Lucy, the beginning of humankind’ therefore describes the important fossil discovery that alters the readers’ previous view and notion of the human origin. In addition, Johanson vividly tells his experience on discovering a masterpiece that changed the theory of human evolution. The book also describes other integral archeological findings that contributed to the theories elucidating the topic of human origin. Examples of such archaeological findings discussed by the author include; Homo Naenderthalenis remains that were discovered in Iraq at Shanidar cave and Homo Habilis that was discovered in Olduvai George within the Tanzanian borders (.

Donald Johanson is renowned for his contributions on the theory of human evolution when he made a vital discovery on a two-legged female fossil popularly known as ‘Lucy’. As a paleoanthropologist, Johanson served his duties when he relentlessly sought and discovered a fossil that became the first ever bipedal ape that later evolved to Homo sapiens. Johanson made his new findings known to the public after he found pieces of a tibia and femur bone which had similar resemblance with the knee joint of a bipedal creature (Johanson & Maitland 6). Johanson significantly contributed to the theory of human evolution when he discovered a bipedal feature on his newly discovered fossil. The author’s discovery on bipedalism enabled anthropologists and evolutionists to describe the process of evolution of the primates to hominids. This is because bipedalism had always been viewed as a fundamental feature that differentiated hominids from primates.  The author explained his topic on Lucy as the beginning of humankind through his comprehensive description on the events behind his greatest discovery that redefined the topic on human origin and evolution. The author also described the chronological development of ‘Lucy’ thereby displaying progressive evolutionary sequence preceding the discovery of Homo sapiens. The author describes the physical features of Lucy and other apes and how they later developed into the common physical features possessed by human beings. Some of these physical features described by Johanson included; Two-legs,  arboreal arms and the different types of teeth that have today been differentiated into incisors, canines, molars and premolars (Johanson & Maitland 28). The author also provided an elaborative and comprehensive description of the several fossils that had been discovered by previous researchers. In addition, Johanson provided clear description on how other archeologists found and retrieved the previous skeletons that contributed to the explanation of human evolution. Aside from archeology, the author widened his scope of focus as he described the politics behind the discoveries made by previous archeologists. In essence, Johanson clearly elaborated the connection and relationship between ‘Lucy’, apes and the humanoids (Johanson & Maitland 12). Through this book, one is able to denote how apes progressively developed to human beings who possess more advanced physical and morphological features. Johanson managed to make the topic interesting as he used simple words which could be understood by any person interested in studying human anthropology.

Johanson’s passion on the topic of human evolution could easily be told through his book. Lucy, the beginning of humankind, clearly enlightens and informs the reader on the progressive evolution of human beings from a primitive ape to the advanced Homo sapiens. The author further used pictures to captivate the reader who would have a long-lasting memory with regards to the subject on human evolution.  Unlike most scientific books, Johanson used descriptive story to tell the readers of his discoveries and how other discoveries have shaped the theories of human evolution. Thus, Johanson managed to reach a larger audience comprising of experts and the novice readers who initially had little knowledge on human origin and human evolution. The author was thereby able to enlighten non-scientist readers through his well-written descriptive story on the discovery of Lucy and other fossils that progressively developed to human beings. The author further provided statistical facts in terms of the age of the discovered fossils, their height and other figures which resemble that of a normal human being. Therefore, most readers would easily differentiate the advanced Homo sapiens with the primitive apes. In addition, the readers could also use the different timelines provided to analyze the progressive development of man. The author also gives clear fascinating accounts of the discoveries, politics, and the events that led to significant discoveries on new fossils that attributed to the explanation of human origin (Johanson & Maitland 63).

As a student studying Physical Anthropology, I like how the author contributed his ideologies on the evolution of man. Through his book, ‘Lucy the beginning of humankind’, I got to understand the progressive evolution of ape to man (Johanson & Maitland 10). Johanson’s description of the events resulting to his discovery of ‘Lucy’ motivates me to pursue and delve into matters dealing with the evolution and development of human beings. The author also managed to give a clear description of the events leading to the discoveries and factors behind the naming, classification and morphological description of the new fossils. In addition, Johanson enlightened future anthropologists on the possible problems that would likely hinder him/her in making significant discoveries in the field of archeology. According to Johanson, capital funding is one of the issues causing distress to anthropologists seeking to make significant findings on human fossils and archeology.

Physical anthropology is a scientific discipline seeking to elucidate the origin, evolution, and diversity of human beings. ‘Lucy, the beginning of human kind’ is a book that provided comprehensive facts on the discovery of a fossil that progressively developed to ‘Homo sapiens’. The book relates the topic of human evolution which is one of the common subjects covered on Physical anthropology. The discovery of ‘Lucy’ introduced the topic of bipedalism as an aspect that human evolution. This allowed archeologists and evolutionists to reinterpret the previous theories on human evolution as they included ‘Lucy’ as one of the advanced human fossils that had much resemblance to human beings who are also described as bipedal features. ‘Lucy’ also possessed certain features that resembled that of ape. For instance, like the apes, ‘Lucy’s’ brain was not fully developed. Johanson’s discoveries significantly reinterpreted different topics on Physical anthropology as it redefined the origin and evolution of man.


Johanson, Donald C, and Maitland A. Edey. Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind. New York, NY: Warner Books, 1982. Print.