BREAKING NEWS: Famed paleontologist Yves Coppens, whose discovery of 3.2million-year-old skeleton Lucy proved human ancestors walked upright, dies aged 87
- Yves Coppens died Wednesday at the age of 87 after battling an illness
- He was born on August 9, 1943 in Vannes, France, and dedicated his life to unraveling the mystery of human origin.
- He is famous for discovering a hominid skeleton 45 years ago in Ethiopia
Paleontologist Yves Coppens, known for discovering the fossils of the famous hominid skeleton Lucy, died on Wednesday after battling an illness. He was 87 years old.
Coppens, born August 9, 1943 in Vannes, France, dedicated his life to unraveling the mystery of human origin.
And 45 years ago he came across a 3.2 million year old skeleton in southern Ethiopia that changed our understanding of human evolution – Lucy showed that our human ancestors walked upright earlier than previously believed.
Those who know Coppen personally say he was a smiling individual with a great, sometimes provocative sense of humor, and always professed his faith in the future of man.
His publisher announced the heartbreaking news on Twitter.
Paleontologist Yves Coppens, known for discovering fossils of the famous hominid fossil Lucy, died on Wednesday. He was 87
Odile Jacob shared: ‘#Yves Coppens left us this morning. My sadness is immense. Yves Coppens was a very great scientist, world-renowned paleontologist, member of countless foreign institutions, but above all a professor at the College de France and a member of the Academy of Sciences.
“His benevolence, his kindness, his humour, his loyalty, his erudition were matched only by his talent as a writer, storyteller and essayist. I lose the friend who entrusted me with all his work @0dileJacob France loses one of its great men. I will never forget it,’ the tweet continued.
Coppen, who is of Italian descent, was born a nuclear physicist but knew he wanted to be an archaeologist when he was seven or eight years old, he told TUSEN in a 2016 interview. .
He started his career in 1956 and in 1967 he discovered a 2.6 million year old bipedal hominid fossil in the Omo River Valley (Ethiopia).
Those who know Coppen personally say he was a smiling individual with a great
Forty-five years ago he came across a 3.2 million year old skeleton in southern Ethiopia that changed our understanding of human evolution – Lucy showed that our human ancestors walked upright much earlier than previously believed.
But it was in 1974 that he made himself known to the world.
Working with geologist friend Maurice Taieb and American paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson, the team traveled to Ethiopia where they discovered 52 bone fragments.
Once they determined that the pieces fit into the same skeleton, they decided to name her Lucy – it was the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” that played as they played. labeled the bones.