Saturday January 19, 2019
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Google Doodle celebrates early human ancestor Lucy

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Google has come up with a doodle today to celebrate the 41st anniversary of a historical find by paleoanthropologists working in Ethiopia—the bones of Lucy, the first female hominid.

Her bones first showed proof how the humans evolved from being apes who lived on trees to the intelligent human species who are tall and walk upright.

She was named ‘Lucy’, inspired by the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by Beatles. The new hominid species made itself known through a few hundred pieces of fossilized bone, which made up a large part of the skeleton. According to carbon dating, they were 3.2 million years old. Skeletons this old were mostly too incomplete or damaged. So, scientists were able to find a lot of information regarding human evolution because the bones were almost intact.

They named the species Australopithecus afarensis.

Lucy’s spine curvature and knee structure were the most important characteristics of her bone structure, which suggested she walked upright– a characteristic attributed to humans.

Lucy stood at 1.1 metres tall and weighed 27 kilograms; this was the adult size for her species. Scientists suggested that her face structure and facial features could be similar to a gorilla. Much like an ape, her skull was small. Compared to her legs, her arms were longer, but not as much as a chimpanzee’s.

She was initially thought to have had a plant-based diet, as suggested to researchers by her cone-shaped rib and the muscular structure of her jaw. But later in 2010, it became known through further findings that the Australopithecus afarensis species cooked, cut and ate meat. They were the first of their kind to take up this process.

The biggest mystery about Lucy’s bones is that her cause of death couldn’t be understood. From studying her teeth degradation, scientists stated that she was a mature, yet young female. So, old age couldn’t have been the cause of her death.

However, on her pubic bone is a tooth mark of a carnivore. Whether it contributed to the cause of death or whether the animal bit her body after her death is not clear.

Lucy’s skeleton is currently quite close to where her bones were discovered. She lies in the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, locked up in a safe, while a plaster replica is on exhibit. She has even toured the United States between 2007 and 2013, even though it was feared that the journey might damage her.

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The March of Progress (source: http://fooyoh.com)

The Google Doodle today is an animation of the famous ‘March of Progress’, an illustration which shows the evolution of man from apes. As a find which showed the key of our evolution today, Lucy has been put in the middle of the evolutionary process in the doodle.

 

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Google Doodle Celebrates First Message of Humanity into Space

Astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake from Cornell University wrote the message with the help from American astronomer Carl Sagan, among others

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Google to retire Hangouts by 2020. (VOA)

In 1974, scientists sent humankind’s first, three-minute long interstellar radio message – the Arecibo Message – and 44 years later, Google on Friday celebrated the feat with a Doodle.

The Arecibo message is a 1974 interstellar radio message carrying basic information about humanity and Earth sent to globular star “cluster M13” 25,000 light years away, with a hope that extraterrestrial intelligence might receive and decipher it.

The message was sent from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

It had exactly 1,679 binary digits (210 bytes) which, if arranged in a specific way, can explain basic information about humanity and earth to extraterrestrial beings.

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Representational Image of ‘Doodle for Google’. Flickr

The message was broadcast into space a single time via frequency modulated radio waves.

Astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake from Cornell University wrote the message with the help from American astronomer Carl Sagan, among others.

Also Read- Social Circles Pose More Risks Online Than Strangers: Microsoft Study

“It was a strictly symbolic event, to show that we could do it,” Cornell University professor Donald Campbell was quoted as saying in an Independent report.

Since it will take nearly 25,000 years for the message to reach its destination — and an additional 25,000 years for a reply, if any, the Arecibo message is viewed as the first demonstration of human technological achievement. (IANS)