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Aaugh! Lucy, You Big Tease

By Matt Wood in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 26, 2006 11:48AM

chicagoist_20061026_lucy.gifChicagoist got all excited yesterday when we read that Lucy, the 3.2 million-year-old fossil skeleton of one of the earliest known hominids, would be coming on a tour to Chicago. Supposedly the fossils would be exhibited outside of Ethiopia for the first time, and Chicago was on the U.S. list, along with Houston, Washington, New York, and Denver. But now, officials at the Field Museum are saying not so fast. The only U.S. city confirmed for the tour is Houston, whose Museum of Natural Science actually negotiated the tour. They will display Lucy as part of an exhibit of 200 Ethiopian artifacts from September 2007 to the following April.

The reason Lucy may not be making the rounds is because she is so fragile in her old age. Many scientists oppose trotting around priceless, irreplaceable fossils like Lucy for fear of damaging them. The Field Museum has negotiated with the Ethiopian government for a Lucy exhibit before, but the plans fell through. So perhaps no Lucy, in which case we'll just have to settle for other well-preserved ladies like Sue.