A report in the New York Times says that 70,000 years ago, the total human population may have dropped to as low as only 2,000 individuals!
What’s particularly interesting to me about this is the timing. About 50,000 years ago is regarded as the time when humans went through a major brain shift … ie, we got smarter. And it is widely known that evolution happens at a much faster rate in small isolated populations. Could the drop in population have contributed to a speeding up of our intellectual development?
Eastern Africa experienced a series of severe droughts between 135,000 and 90,000 years ago and the researchers said this climatological shift may have contributed to the population changes, dividing into small, isolated groups which developed independently.
Paleontologist Meave Leakey, a Genographic adviser, commented: ”Who would have thought that as recently as 70,000 years ago, extremes of climate had reduced our population to such small numbers that we were on the very edge of extinction.”
Climate Change strikes again.