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French Archaeologist Yves Coppens, ‘papa’ of Lucy, Dies aged 87

ADDIS ABABA – Palaeontologist Yves Coppens, who co-discovered the famous hominid fossil known as Lucy, has died at the age of 87, according to media reports from France.

Coppens was part of the team that stumbled upon the most complete remnants of an Australopithecus afarensis in 1974 in Hadar, Ethiopia.

The team nicknamed the 3.2-million-year-old fossil “Lucy” after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, which they listened to while they were working. Coppens often referred to himself as one of Lucy’s “papas”.

His publisher, Odile Jacob, announced the heartbreaking news on Twitter.

“France has lost one of its great men,” Jacob said, announcing Coppens’ death Wednesday after a long illness.

Coppens had been “a talented writer, storyteller and non-fiction author”, she added.

The French presidency, in a statement, praised him as a “pioneer” who “allowed French paleontology to shine a new lite on the origins of all of humanity”, reported Radio France Internationale (RFI).

Throughout his career, Coppens was involved in six hominid discoveries. He also wrote several books and more than a million scientific articles, won several prizes, and served as an advisor on environmental questions to the French government

– News agencies

Featured Image Caption: French anthropologist Yves Coppens poses by bones from the skeleton of a female Australopithecus, known as Lucy, on 10 July 2004, in Carnac, Brittany. [Photo © Fred Tanneau/AFP]