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Humans and Extinction Events

15 September 2023
Anthropology, Biology, Climate change, Evolution

A new study claims humans nearly went extinct 900,000 years ago. This apparently happened on four other occasions – it is estimated.

Gary sent in the link to https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-12483565/ … which begins by  saying that when we look at the rapidly increasing numbers of humans living on planet earth at this moment in time it seems strange to think that humans almost became extinct on five earlier occasions. What was going on? Can it happen again?

First of all, a word of caution on human origins and numbers. What we know about our forefathers is restricted to the odd skull, part of a skull, or a few bones dug out of the  ground. Very often in Africa – in dry locations such as the Rift Valley. In other words, finding out that humans disappeared from one region doesn’t automatically mean they disappeared elsewhere. Computer simulations are made from a small study base and then extrapolated around the globe. However, from a catastrophist standpoint it is obvious that if there was a mass kill-off of animals then humans would have been caught up in the same disaster. We can see this quite clearly with the disappearance of the Neanderthals. Hence, we should take note of what the study says.

The first event is dated around 1.2 million years ago, in the era of Homo erectus. They are thought to have evolved around 1.9 million years ago – from evidence dug up in Africa. Homo erectus went on to colonise the rest of the world – or is found in most of the world. Two different things. Population numbers collapsed dramatically we are told, but Homo erectus was able to survive the mass die-off and replenish its numbers.

The new study is about another event at 900,000 years ago. Human numbers, in this instance, are said to have dropped to just 1,280 people. That is a very narrow bottleneck. It also coincided with the loss of other animal species. I wonder if the simulation was done for animals as well – and compared to the human simulation. Whatever, it points once again not just to a global event but one that was catastrophic in nature.  My first thought was that it was somewhat distant from the 700,000 years ago geomagnetic reversal, which is odd. The disappearance of the Neanderthals coincided with the Laschamp geomagnetic reversal. It might not be odd, of course, as geomagnetic reversals are not necessarily catastrophic events. It does make one wonder how reliable the 900,000 years ago date is – and as we shall see, it has thrown up a spanner in dating methodology. The bottleneck, we are told, lasted all of 117,000 years. A long time as a few generations would have seen human numbers climb back up again. That brings us down to about 800,000 years ago, somewhat closer to the 700,000 year event.

The catastrophic event is dated to the Middle Pleistocene, possibly representing the beginning of the Neanderthals and Denisovans. Professor Giorgio Manzi, senior author of the study, adds, we know that between 900,000 and 600,000 years ago the fossil record, in Africa, is very scarce, if not entirely absent. He then says that before 900,000 years and after 600,000 years ago the fossil evidence is abundant. One can now see straight away the 700,000 year geomagnetic event is probably part of the  same catastrophe and it is uniformitarian methodology that may have created the gap. He is saying that for 300,000 years there is an absence of human remains – and essentially, this represents the extinction event.

The same absence of fossil humans occurs in Europe between 800,000 and 600,000 years ago. Here, the 700,000 year geomagnetic reversal is squarely placed midway in the sequence. This indicates uniformitarian methodology has expanded the time frame of that event, which is also uniformitarian dated, on both sides of 700,000 years ago. This is much like what occurs on either side of the dinosaur killing asteroid strike [and its iridium layer].

The next extinction event, we are told, occurred around 150,000 years ago – not far from the beginning of an interglacial period. Population numbers in Africa collapsed once again. However, the event itself has also been dated at 195,000 years ago, where there is evidence of an expansion of glaciation with aridity in other regions of the world. Human population numbers may have slumped as low as just 600 individuals. Conversely, in South Africa we have evidence of thriving human communities living on the coast. Not long afterwards.

Next, the fourth, we have the 74,000 years ago eruption of the Toba volcano on Sumatra. It is thought to have been responsible for another human bottleneck – or population collapse. The volcano created a massive cooling event. One would have thought of around 10 years at most as the debris thrown into the upper atmosphere would have dispersed in that time. Volcanic coolings usually last for around 3 years – and not a lot more. It is said to have been 5 times more violent than the Mount St Helens volcano in the 1980s. Lots of speculation  surrounding this event – and no doubt, dating challenges as well. Once again we also have evidence of people surviving the event – in India for example. Once again the drop in numbers occurred in Africa.

Finally, we have the extinction of the Neanderthals – coinciding with a mass die-off of animals and a geomagnetic reversal, the so called Laschamp event. There is plenty of source material for Laschamp on the internet, if anyone wants o follow up.

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