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Australopithecus discoverer Lucy dies

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French paleontologist Yves Coppens, discoverer of several hominid fossils, including the famous Australopithecus Lucy, died Wednesday at the age of 87, announced his editor Odile Jacob.

Yves Coppens left us this morning. My sadness is immensetweeted Odile Jacob, welcoming a great scientist. I lose the friend who entrusted me with all his work. France loses one of its great menadded the editor.

Paleontologist Yves Coppens poses behind a display case displaying Lucy’s bones.

Photo: AFP / ©AFP/Fred Tanneau

The scientist died following a long illness, the publishing house told AFP.

World-renowned paleontologist, professor emeritus at the College de France and member of the Academy of Sciences, Yves Coppens has never ceased to tell the human epic with a talent as a writer, storyteller, essayistcommented Odile Jacob.

This fossil hunter introduced himself as one of the dads de Lucy, alongside scientists Maurice Taieb and Donald Johanson: In 1974, in the Afar Depression of Ethiopia, the team unearthed the most complete hominid fossil ever found, a 3-year-old Australopithecus 2 million years.

In total, Yves Coppens and his colleagues described the fossilized bones of six hominids.

Son of a nuclear physicist, he was born on August 9, 1934 in Vannes, in the west of France.

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