King Alfred School sixth former carries out research at Natural History Museum (From This is The West Country)
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King Alfred School sixth former carries out research at Natural History Museum
A SIXTH Form student from The King Alfred School in Highbridge has carried out important research at the Natural History Museum in London.
Katie Chedzey, of Year 13, was invited into the research laboratories of the Natural History Museum in Kensington, London, as part of her work towards completing the Extended Project Qualification.
Katie is studying the origins of hominin bipedalism - upright walking in our human ancestors - so she was thrilled to have the opportunity of analysing some of the priceless fossil specimens held in the vaults of the Palaeontology Department.
Head teacher Simon Aylward said: “Working with these fossils allowed Katie to conclude that human bipedalism goes back millions of years, but only in the last two million years do we see the evolution of endurance running and more human-like body proportions.”
A particular highlight for Katie was the analysis of the famous 'Lucy' skeleton that dates to 3.2 million years ago and belongs to the species Australopithecus afarensis, an extinct hominid.
She was able to determine that Lucy could walk fully upright due to the human-like pelvis and femur, even though Lucy retained many ape-like features such as a small, chimpanzee-size brain and longer arms.
Katie got to compare 'Lucy', standing at 1.1m high, with the 1.7 million-year-old Homo erectus skeleton belonging to the so-called 'Nariokotome Boy' who already stood at 1.6m tall when he died at the age of 11.