Sunday, July 25, 2010

Selam (Australopithecus Afarensis)

Selam is the name given to a fossilized skull and other skeletal remains of a 3-year-old Australopithecus afarensis female whose bones were first found in Dikika, Ethiopia in 2000 and recovered over the following years. She is often nicknamed Lucy's baby. The remains of Selam have been dated at 3.3 mya, approximately 120,000 years older than "Lucy" (dated to about 3.18 Ma). The fossils were discovered by Zeresenay Alemseged, and are remarkable for both their age and completeness.

On September 20, 2006, the journal Nature presented the findings of a dig in Dikika, Ethiopia a few miles south (across the Awash River) from Hadar, the place where the fossil remains known as Lucy was found. The recovered skeleton comprises almost the entire skull and torso, and many parts of the limbs. The features of the skeleton suggest adaptation to walking upright (bipedalism) as well as tree-climbing, features that correspond well with the skeletal features of Lucy and other specimens of Australopithecus afarensis from Ethiopia and Tanzania. "Lucy's Baby" has officially been nicknamed "Selam" (meaning "peace").