70,000 Years Ago, An Extinction Event May Have Left Only 2,000 Humans on the Planet

Extinction EventWow, this is a fascinating article from Ed Grabianowski on io9.com: a great catalog of the extinction events we believe happened throughout all of human history. Ed Grabianowski writes:

There is one near-extinction event that is fairly well-known, although it remains controversial. Roughly 70,000 years ago, give or take a few thousand years, an enormous eruption occurred in what is now Sumatra, leaving behind Lake Toba. The eruption coincides with a population bottleneck that is often cited as the reason for the relatively low genetic diversity across Homo sapiens sapiens. Research suggests as few as 2,000 humans were left alive by the eruption and its aftereffects.

A recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found another population bottleneck much farther back in human history. Genetic studies found that 1.2 million years ago there were as few as 55,000 members of genus Homo, including pre-human hominids like Homo erectus and Homo ergaster. This one is interesting because we don’t have solid evidence of a catastrophic event during that period, so we’re not sure what might have caused the population crash or where to look for more evidence.

Read More from Ed Grabianowski on io9.com

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  • GoFigure560

    About 1.2 million years ago the Yellowstone super volcano went off.

  • GoFigure560

    About 1.2 million years ago the Yellowstone super volcano went off.

  • Farthead

    So… we are, most likely, related to these 2, 000 remaining people, and to one another, in some way or another.

  • Farthead

    So… we are, most likely, related to these 2, 000 remaining people, and to one another, in some way or another.