Biology

Did Prehistoric Lucy Fall From A Tree?

Sep 01, 2016 at 11:53 AM ET

The prehistoric remains of a human ancestor known as Lucy have always posed a mysterious question to scientists: what killed her? Now, thanks to 3D-printing, we might have a brand new theory.

Scientists who examined X-ray images of Lucy’s 3.2 million year-old bones and discovered that she may have died from a fall—a big one. Breaks in her leg bones are consistent with those that might be sustained by falling from a 50-foot tree.

The case isn’t fully closed; other researchers have noted that similar injuries occur in gazelles, which don’t climb trees.