She is one of mankind’s oldest and best preserved ancestors and is more than three million years old.

And now new research suggests that ‘Lucy’, along with others in her species,¬†may have needed a midwife to give birth, due to the shape of her pelvis.

The researchers hope that their findings could shed light on how humanity’s large brains and upright stature evolved.


While there are no known fossils of any newborn australopiths, the researchers modeled the shape and size of an infant’s head but assuming it had the same dimensions as a large baby chimpanzee.

They also estimated the width of an australopith baby’s shoulder by looking at the relationship¬†between the shoulder widths of adult and newborn primates such as humans, chimps, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons, and by examining the width of Lucy’s shoulders.

The model indicates that, as happens in humans, a baby australopith would have entered the birth canal sideways.


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