31
Aug
12

Lucy: A Biography–Part XXVIII

Finally after ten years, I am close to publishing the heart-rending and fast-paced biography of Lucy. Written in the spirit of Jean Auel, this is the paleo-historic saga of our earliest ancestors as lived through the eyes of a female Homo habilis.

photo credit: M. Harrsch

Lucy’s story of survival

Since Donald Johanson uncovered the tiny three-and-a-half foot clawless, flat-toothed Australopithecine, we have asked, Who is she? And how could she survive in a world of mammoth predators and unrelenting natural disasters she had no understanding about? This book answers those questions as well as more fundamental ones like, Where did God come from? Why did man create his first tool? How did culture start?

Here’s a summary:

Lucy: A Biography follows three species of early man (Australopithecus, Homo habilis and Homo erectus), as they fight for the limited resources of Pleistocene Africa. Lucy, of the species habilis, blames herself for the death of her family and agrees to mate with a stranger (Raza). As they journey to Raza’s homebase, they are tracked by two deadly predators: Xha, of the smarter and more powerful species Homo erectus, and the violent and unforgiving Nature, a sentient being who meddles with fate and Lucy’s future as though it were a chemistry experiment. The story is carefully researched to shared the geography, climate, and biosphere that would have been Lucy’s world 1.8 million years ago, when man was not King and nature ruled with a violence and dispassion we call ‘disaster’ today.

Every week, I’ll post part of this story.

A note: While I took Lucy’s name from the infamous Australopithecine skeleton discovered by Donald Johanson, Lucy is a Homo habilis. Her adopted child Boa is an Australopithecine.

Here’s Part 28:

Chapter 12–Part 1

Homo habilis Hunting

“The second image of man the scavenger, is both unfamiliar and unflattering… There is little nobility in man the scavenger.”

—Dr. Pat Shipman

Raza crouched, feet balanced under his chest, sandwiched between Lucy and Ma-g’n on one side and Vorak and Kelda on the opposite. Baad and Falda hunched across, forcing Brum off to the side where his left-handed eating didn’t interfere with the others. Kaavrm picked the spot closest to the meat—“I still can’t eat anything but soft meat—you remember when the rock fell on me.” Kee and the other adults filled out the inner group, with the children huddled behind.

Raza and Lucy went first—it was their hunt—but every adult jumped in within a breath. It had been since yesterday they ate, and that was only nuts and roots. Blood disappeared first, slurped from palm-shaped leaves. Then, everyone who could get close used their chert flakes to slash open Oryx’s skin, and loosen the muscle and tissue from its carcass. With mud-caked fingers, now dripping blood, they stuffed it into their mouths, chewing while they reached for more.

When the bones were bare, the females pounded the shafts until they snapped and marrow oozed out like sap from a tree. This they collected in funnel-shaped twigs and passed around the group. By the time they reached the children, nothing was left. Raza grunted, and then barked to get Ahnda’s attention.

“Help Gleb,” and he pointed at the melons, lined up at the far side of the carcass. Ahnda thwacked the melon and it popped, revealing the inside slush of fruit and seeds. He grabbed a large thick leaf from a pile, molded it into his fingers and swiped it through the sludge. Gleb nodded, grabbed his own and attacked a rabbit cranium. Raza smiled. Ahnda would be annoyed he grabbed the melon instead of the brains.

Everyone grunted and burped, sucking the last of the fat and juices dripping from their fingers until everything organic had been consumed. As the meal drew to a close, Raza folded his leaf scooper over and over and stuffed it into his mouth, reveling in the tantalizing collection of flavors.

“Today,” Raza thought, “Nature has treated us well.”

Over their heads, a half-moon rested above the nodding stocks of pond fronds. The blue-black water was bathed in the humid light of the disappearing sun as darkness settled around them. An owl hooted, fair warning that her time to hunt had arrived. At the edge of the riparian wood, canus bounded along a silver barrier, headed for home and pups.

“We have done well.” Raza felt a warm ripple flush through his body as he gazed at the satisfied faces, the Group he would share his life with, give his life for, the children who expected nothing less of him than their safety. He wondered, did his Primary-Male feel this, sitting with his band after a good hunt?

Appetites sated, it was time for stories.

“Vorak. You start,” Raza motioned.

Vorak licked the last bits of tissue and blood from his thick furless fingers as he scanned the audience, waiting, studying each individual, smiling at some, passing over others, until the children stopped their nervous jiggling, youthful faces lifted toward Vorak, eyes wide and mouths gaping. When only the clicking of grasshoppers in the dry night air broke the silence, Vorak began in rich, mellow tones.

“I followed Eagle’s voice toward grasses-where-herds-graze, around lake-by-home-base, down river-where-tree-grows-with-shade-from-sun, and over berms-that-move.”

 Photo credit: San Diego Museum of Man

Part XXIX next week…

Want to be notified when Lucy: A Biography is published? Click here.


Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum and two tech-ed lesson plan collections for K-sixth, creator of two technology training books for middle school, and six ebooks on technology in education for K-8. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for six blogs, anAmazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.comEditorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blogger,  IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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