Friday, August 01, 2008

‘Epic’ story of our species near-extinction unfolds

Climate change nearly wiped out the human race 70,000 years ago according to a Stanford University “genetic study,” reports CNN (via The Future of Things).

Between 135,000 and 90,000 years ago, Africa was stricken by “a series of severe droughts.” The environmental emergency seems to have split the human species into small populations (perhaps in search of food, CNN doesn’t say). Separated, the species dwindled to a population of 2,000 by about 70,000 years ago (if it were around, Pound360 wonders if the Bush Administration would have listed us as endangered at that point).

Eventually, the human populations reunited at the dawn of the Stone Age “and began to increase in numbers and spread to other areas.” One researcher described the story as a “truly an epic drama.”

Don’t ask Pound360 to explain how a “genetic study” (of mitochondrial DNA) can tell us all this, but that’s why we didn’t go to Stanford. Contributing to the findings, it seems, are climate studies.


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About Me

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.