Ethiopia’s first historic image can be seen in the great African Rift Valley 3.5 million years ago. There in the northern part of the Middle Awash Valley, in the locality presently known as Haddar, lived one of the earliest and internationally best known hominids or ancestors of the human race. Now called Lucy by the outside world, she is also spoken of in Ethiopia as Dinknesh. Scholars however best know her as Australopihecus Afarensis, which means southern ape from the Afar country. Lucy was discovered in 1974, by American-French team, led by Donald c. Johnson of Chicago University.
Lucy was a very small woman. Though believed to have been fully grown, her skeleton measures only 3&1/2 feet and weighted no more than 30 kilos i.e. less than half the weight of the average present day human being. Her brain was tiny, a little larger than that of an ape. Her pelvis and leg bones on the other hand, were almost identical to those of today’s humans and her arms were too short for hanging, monkey like in trees. Scientist, therefore, believes that she walked erect on two legs just like you and me. Her jaw was moreover V shaped rather like ours, and was quite different from the box like parallel tooth formation characteristics of apes.
All this is of great palenhtropological importance. It suggests that the human species, contrary to earlier belief probably begin to walk erect before it evolved enlarged brains.
Lucy’s discovery makes it possible to claim that Ethiopia is one of the earliest places of human habitation on earth.
Recent research suggests that modern human being now living throughout the world, probably originated in the African Continent between 100,000-200,000 years ago.