Lucy kicks off her public debut at the Houston Museum of Natural Science tomorrow amid controversy that the world's favorite human ancestor should never have left her home in Ethiopia. The public wants the chance to the 3.2 million-year-old remains, but scientists say Lucy's too fragile to travel.
Despite the fact that a slew of older ape-like species have been unearthed since her discovery in 1974, Lucy remains "an icon of human evolution," one scientist told the Houston Chronicle. But her spot in the popular imagination could also be her undoing. Her projected six-year tour —in violation of UNESCO guidelines— could severely damage the fossil.