Humanity’s last near-extinction shows how it might survive the next one

The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

About 75,000 years ago, a supervolcano erupted at what is now Lake Toba on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.  This was a catastrophic explosion so massive that it plunged the world into a prolonged period of darkness that quickly killed-off much of the Earth’s photosynthetic plant life and lowered global temperatures for hundreds of years.  As their food sources disappeared, the decline of many animal species soon followed.  The effects are similar to what has been predicted for a nuclear war, commonly known as a “nuclear winter.”

At that time, Homo sapiens were primitive hunter-gatherers in the midst of migrations out of Africa.  DNA evidence indicates that our species nearly went extinct after the eruption.  A “genetic bottleneck” occurred which may have reduced the human population to as few as 2,000 individuals.  But, we managed to survive;  and, that remnant population was sufficient to restart our…

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