|“||She is the first mitochondria ever created within the last 200,000 years||”|
–Kurama, placing series' Lucy on the level once occupied by the fossil
The Australopithecus afarensis skeleton called Lucy by the anthropology team that found her provided the world with the then-oldest link to humanity's remote origins, and of course provided the Elfen Lied series with the name by which its main protagonist is chiefly known thanks to the Diclonius Research Institute.
Discovered in 1974 during a dig in Ethiopia, the find was given the unofficial name Lucy for the classic Beatles song, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, a song that, version depending, was either about a drawing young Julian Lennon made of a classmate named Lucy, or about the hallucinogenic drug LSD. Even though only 40% of the remains of this 3 million year old hominin skeleton were found, by the standards of archaeology and anthropology, her discovery is astounding for the fact that her remains are more intact than others found before then. A good portion of modern humanity has genes in common with this past figure, making her at least a mother figure to the Human species. However, she is not the sole source of the mitochondria present in all human beings today, so while she is an ancestor of modern humans, she is not the "Mitochondrial Eve" that the Diclonius Lucy is perceived to be by Kakuzawa.
Gaining public notice, Lucy became known as possibly being a common ancestor to all of Humanity, though this early queen was already on her way to being dethroned. In 1992, ten years before the Elfen Lied manga was first published, an even older find (over 4 million years old) named 'Ardi' was discovered, though Lucy still has a hold on the public's imagination. Ardi's research results were not published until 2009, well after both versions of the Elfen Lied series came to an end. This legitimate displacement of one fossil find by another later one ironically ties back into the series main character.
It is not known who precisely gave the Diclonius Queen the moniker "Lucy," but it was applied to her by the staff at the Diclonius Research Institute, where Lucy was held captive for three years after five years of wandering following her fateful encounter with Kouta, and it is exclusively people related to this facility that use it in regards to her. While the name Lucy could refer to Lucifer as well, the constant refrain of evolution and Lucy's place in it more strongly suggests the name was given to her because of the Lucy skeleton. At the institute, three people seem most likely to have given her the name, as all three of these characters are well aware of what her life and existence mean for the planet: Kurama, Professor Kakuzawa, and Chief Kakuzawa. Of these three, only one wishes to avert that destiny. Kurama soon becomes opposed to both Lucy and his soon former employers when he learns they have ambitions to use Lucy to reshape the planet and erase humanity. The Kakuzawas, believing themselves to be deeply connected to the new Diclonius species, are given a rude awakening when Lucy dealt them death and disappointment since she could tell they were only humans, not Diclonii like they believed.
In the end, Lucy dramatically rejects a chance to remake or destroy the world in favor of saving the one thing she truly loved in it. In effect, Diclonius Lucy chooses not to be Mitochondrial Lucy.
The Kakuzawas' illusions about who they were and what they saw as a natural alliance with Lucy are made all the more pointless by the real life displacement of the ancient Lucy. Though Lynn Okamoto could not have known ancient Lucy would be displaced, it shows the pain the Kakuzawas inflicted on the world and the main characters in an even sadder light. A delusion based on a false history joined with a pivotal piece of scientific information outpaced by the march of knowledge is perhaps a fitting juncture for a name with which a tortured confused girl knew and dealt only pain and death. Leaving that name behind leads to greater knowledge in real life, and to the final peace and reward for a girl who wanted a world she could belong in.
- In 2014, a feature film named 'Lucy' featured the evolving protagonist actually encountering the Australopithecus Lucy in the past, one of several popular science myths the film fell into. The film itself was initially believed to possess parallels and perhaps even be partially inspired by Elfen Lied, but beyond the protagonists sharing a name and possessing supernatural powers, there are very few connections between the two that they don't also share with other series about mutants with superpowers.
- In a notable UK science magazine Nature issued in August, 2016, a US professor and his survey team revealed that this ancient Lucy died probably shortly after when she had fallen from a tree at the height of 12 meters or even higher, in view of the damages her bones got. Although this Lucy and her species walked on two legs like homo sapiens but it is estimated that they slept on a tree in the night.