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ben_meyers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:16 PM
Original message
Study says near extinction threatened people
Source: Yahoo News

WASHINGTON - Human beings may have had a brush with extinction 70,000 years ago, an extensive genetic study suggests.

The human population at that time was reduced to small isolated groups in Africa, apparently because of drought, according to an analysis released Thursday.

The report notes that a separate study by researchers at Stanford University estimated the number of early humans may have shrunk as low as 2,000 before numbers began to expand again in the early Stone Age.

"This study illustrates the extraordinary power of genetics to reveal insights into some of the key events in our species' history," Spencer Wells, National Geographic Society explorer in residence, said in a statement. "Tiny bands of early humans, forced apart by harsh environmental conditions, coming back from the brink to reunite and populate the world. Truly an epic drama, written in our DNA."



Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080424/ap_on_sc/close_call



That may have been close! Will it happen again?
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LakeSamish706 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:17 PM
Response to Original message
1. I would say undoubtedly that we are on the verge of it now one way or another. n/t
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:17 PM
Response to Original message
2. This is fascinating --
I wonder if it WILL happen again.
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TomInTib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. If it does...
I hope the next White Race emerges with a better sense of rythm.
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murray hill farm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Hahahahahahaha!
Too funny!
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. A severe, prolonged drought in eastern Africa would be a huge regional humanitarian crisis
As it would anywhere. But it would not threaten the global human population.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #6
25. A collapse of industrial agriculture would be a HUGH bummer worldwide
It might not lead to a near-extinction event, but if the population crashed by 90%, in some areas there could be regional "bottlenecks."
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ohio2007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #6
29. maybe drought is the "normal" climate for Africa
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-25-08 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #29
36. It seems to be normal for Southern California
:argh:
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angstlessk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:18 PM
Response to Original message
3. I guess the result was a hardier group of humans, maybe able to withstand
this new conflagration?
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TomInTib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:19 PM
Response to Original message
4. Oh, this oughta go over big with the nutjobs.
Back to Africa again, eh?
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:29 PM
Response to Original message
8. the drought was a result of a super-volcano
similar to the one under Yellowstone today.

Well - this according to a History Channel show a couple of nights ago.

(Have not read the article yet - but will soon to see if the super-volcano theory is mentioned.)
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Hydra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. That's what I heard too
And Yellowstone is 40,000 years overdue. She'll probably go any time now.

Had it gone sooner, we probably would have been decimated or perhaps wiped out entirely before this. In fact, that may have happened at various times before- we start getting somewhere, and a planetwide natural disaster pushes us back to almost nothing.

Something to think about.
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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #8
31. Toba eruption...
another theory is several bottlenecks at the same time..

The Multiple Dispersals model proposes a population bottleneck occurred when cold, dry climates isolated populations in Africa. Additional bottlenecks occurred through physical bottlenecks such as the Sinai Peninsula. The first dispersal of anatomically modern humans, to the Levant around 100,000 year ago, is evidenced by early modern human skeletons in the Near East. According to Ambrose, this first dispersal apparently failed to permanently establish modern humans outside of Africa. Genetic evidence shows that non-African populations can be divided into southern Australasian and northern Eurasian populations that divided 50-75,000 years ago.

In contrast, Ambrose's model proposes a scenario of a globally synchronous bottleneck. If bottlenecks were caused by the cold climate, duration was approximately 10,000 years with release 60,000 years ago. If the eruption of Toba alone caused the bottleneck, then release may have followed within a few decades of the volcanic winter 71,000 years ago, or the bottleneck could have lasted 1000 years, during the coldest portion of the Ice Age following the Toba eruption. In the bottleneck scenarios, more individuals survived in the African tropical refugia, resulting in the greatest genetic diversity survival in Africa.

Ambrose concludes that bottlenecks occurred among genetically isolated human populations because of a six-year long volcanic winter and subsequent hyper-cold millennium after the cataclysmic super-eruption of Toba. This volcanic winter played a role in recent human differentiation. The resultant combination of founder effects and genetic drift may account for low human genetic diversity as well as population differences associated with so-called races. The bottleneck hypothesis offers an explanation for why humans exhibit so little genetic variation, yet superficially appear diverse. It also affords an explanation for the apparent recent coalescence of mtDNA and African origins.
http://www.jqjacobs.net/anthro/paleo/bottleneck.html
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:29 PM
Response to Original message
9. Global nuclear war could do it
So could catastrophic global warming, or an asteroid strike.
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I believe we'll survive anything short of the Sun exploding
I'm not saying we'll thrive, but some will certainly be equipped to survive almost any major global disaster.
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balantz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Only people like Cheney deep in well stocked bunkers
Edited on Thu Apr-24-08 03:49 PM by balantz
could survive world-wide, thermonuclear war. And he and his kind would have to stay under there for generations likely becoming a blind race of mutant worms!
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #16
26. "Becoming" a blind race of mutant worms?
:shrug:
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balantz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. After the shedding of the human-looking exodermis.
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razors edge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #16
32. Yes, they will refuse to evolve after all.
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balantz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:32 PM
Response to Original message
10. There is plenty of reason to doubt that humans will survive for much longer.
As we contribute to the destruction of life on this planet we seem to forget that includes us as well.

And then, if that fails, there is religious fanatacism and thousands of nuclear weapons at the ready for diabolical brains to figure out how to unleash for their glorious "day of judgement". The only judgement will be annihilation of Earth's organisms, including humankind. The judgement of no more life here.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Most great civilizations died out because they used up resources and
were forced to move on to other regions. Our problem now is we are running out of places to go.

We really need a culling of the herd to ensure the long term survival of the species. Wars are not efficient, AIDS never lived up to its promise, same with the bird flu. Mass starvation seems to be the best means to reduce overpopulation. ZPG never worked because of that damn "breed ourselves into dominance" mentality of religion and other tyrannical regimes.

Deer populations go through expansions and collapses of population and they've thrived. We are subject to the same laws of nature.
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bluerum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. Presumably we are smarter than deer and can plan ahead ---
but I still have not seen any convincing evidence.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. You've heard the term, "creature of habit"?
We can't rise above our genetic code. We can't turn off behaviors that are hardwired in us. We can be like jazz musicians, and improvise on a theme, but most people play the music as written.
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arundhatiroyfan Donating Member (174 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-25-08 08:06 AM
Response to Reply #15
35. I think you're wrong.
While the earth can't take an infinite amount of people, it just makes no sense to reduce human population by means of starvation. To let such a thing happen would backfire massively imo.My apologies if that wasn't your point.
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Uben Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
11. It's not if, but when......
The human race will be obliterated at some point. The only possibility of survival is populating another planet. We will be hit by another asteroid that will wipe out at least 90% of life on our planet.
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yodermon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:44 PM
Response to Original message
13. So much for Noah's Ark!
sounds more like Noah's Drought. :rofl:
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ramapo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:46 PM
Response to Original message
14. I bet Mother Earth is pissed off she missed her chance
She sure would've prevented a world of hurt to most of the denizens of this fine planet.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. Don't misunderestimate her!
:evilgrin:
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. I've heard someone say she'll shake us all off --
like a dog with fleas.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. And , of course you know the old joke
about two planets whose orbits meet again after millenia...

A: LONG TIME NO SEE! How ya been? You're looking a bit bedraggled...

B: Good to see you too! Not feeling so well lately... I got me a BAD CASE of Homo Sapiens.

A: Been there, done that. Don't worry yourself. They go away!
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #20
33. Ha! I'd never heard that -- thanks!! nt
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. I use the cancer analogy
We are a cancer upon the body of Gaia. She will have to rid herself of us or die and she isn't going to die. She lives in a different time, measured in millenia and we are just a short time upon this living rock.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 06:36 PM
Response to Reply #23
34. Good analogy. nt
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bluerum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
21. But wait - the bible says we were put here 10,000 years ago. How can we
reconcile that with genetic evidence?
:sarcasm:
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ohio2007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
28. global warming 70,000 yrs ago? who knew ?
what other cause could lack of rain in Africa be from?
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-24-08 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
30. More hooey from the out of Africa geneticists
"The migrations of humans out of Africa to populate the rest of the world appear to have begun about 60,000 years ago, but little has been known about humans between Eve and that dispersal."

The fossil evidence shows otherwise- humans were already in Australia at least 60,000 years ago!

http://www.jqjacobs.net/anthro/paleo/australia.html



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