|Australopithecus afarensis ("Lucy") public domain image|
Tell a tale, get media attention: did Lucy fall out of a tree, or did paleoanthropologists fall off an empirical limb?To read the rest, swing on over to "Human Evolutionists Fall Out of Their Science Tree".
“Lucy” serves a storytelling purpose. By giving a certain fossil a name, whether Lucy or Australopithecus (“southern ape”), Donald Johanson launched a storytelling empire. The interpretation of her bones continues to arouse debate between scientists, but the media love her. She is a folk hero around whom endless fables can be spun.
The latest fable is that she fell out of a tree. The media mostly treat this as a new fact, not an interpretation. It also gives them another opportunity to pound the drum of human ancestry from apes. Watch the level of certainty grow, while the meme about ancestry is constant: