Obama Meets Humankind's 3.2 Million-Year-Old Ancestor In Ethiopia

by
Reuters
Before a state dinner in Ethiopia, U.S. President Barack Obama meets the country's oldest resident - "Lucy," a 3.2 million-year-old partial skeleton of a hominid.

U.S. President Barack Obama attended a state dinner with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at the National Palace in the capital Addis Ababa on July 27. It was the first trip by a sitting U.S. president to the African nation, one of Africa's fastest-growing economies.

In his toast, Obama complimented Ethiopia and raised his glass "to another century of friendship, to our one human family and to our bright future."

Before the dinner, Obama was introduced to another guest, 'Lucy' - an approximately three million year-old skeleton of a female hominid that was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974.

Obama touched the fossilized bones of Lucy, while Ethiopian paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged pointed out Lucy's link to all of humankind today, "including Donald Trump," he said.

"I don't know about his hair," Alemseged quipped as Obama laughed.

Obama's Africa tour, which began on Friday in his father's homeland Kenya, also aims to boost trade and business with a continent where China overtook the United States as the biggest trade partner in 2009.

The government has often turned to China to help build new roads, railways and dams in its bid to expand the industrial base in the largely agrarian economy. The new metro line that snakes through Addis Ababa was built by a Chinese firm.

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