But there are some positive things that come about from her visiting the states. One outstanding thing that I always anticipated her fossil will facilitate is a more discussion on human evolution. I summarize some of the comments Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle overheard,
“10-year-old Garrett Bryant of Odessa peered down at the incomplete jigsaw puzzle of brittle bone fragments and looked disappointed.
“What happened to her skull?” he asked his mother.
“I imagine animals drug it off,” Marla Bryant answered and asked “They don’t have any finger bones, so how do they know her hand was like that?”
“They are guessing at that… I don’t agree with evolution at all,” replies Leona Rice. “The ape evolved, but I don’t think the human came from the ape.”
“Everything changes, everything evolves,” says her son, Marison Rice, whom the family was visiting in Houston.
“Yeah, but if you believe in Adam and Eve and that God created man in his image, then did God look like that?” his sister, Marla, says. “Was he a little 3-foot-tall hairy man?”
“Well, no,” her brother says. “He could be a little short guy or maybe God’s the missing link.”
“No, he has a big white beard and a white, flowing robe,” his sister says, breaking into a laugh. “You know you’ve seen God before!”
Still, she said it was important to her to see the exhibit and expose her son to the idea of evolution for the first time: “All kids should know the evolution side and the religious side, because there’s something to it or we wouldn’t be finding millions and millions of years-old stuff.”
A few minutes later, 35-year-old Deena Dail, from Austin, who said she studied anthropology in college, said she considered the exhibit a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I can’t imagine anybody leaving this exhibit and not believing that this is real,” Dail said, her voice cracking, wiping tears under her glasses. “That’s the cradle. We’re looking at humanity at its earliest point that we know of. And we’re seeing our ancestry, you know, everybody, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, belief systems.
“Before we composed this complex society we live in, we had Lucy. And it’s the unifying thing.”
“You know it’s the real thing,” a woman said, tearing up. “I can feel it in my bones.”
“She broke her bones,” announced a toddler.
“She had her wisdom teeth,” an older man said.
R.L. Crockford, 45, of Houston remarks, “She’s an ape.” Crockford and her cousin visiting from Alaska both said they doubted the conclusions scientists have drawn from the discoveries. They don’t believe Lucy is any kin of theirs.
“What was that line in there? The questions they ask in the exhibit? ‘What is our origin? What is our purpose?’ ” Crockford says. “How many monkeys go around debating that question? That’s a human question.””
I know how reluctant people are to accept human evolution here in the United States, but I’m grateful that Lucy’s remains are at least educating both sides.