Today, some of the world’s greatest visionaries believe humans will have to learn how to colonize space to survive and make room for our ever-growing population. But did you know there have already been three times in history humans nearly went extinct?
1.2 Million Years Ago:
1.2 million years ago, things weren’t looking good for us. Homo sapiens, Homo ergaster, and Homo erectus had a worldwide breeding population of about 18,000 people—no more than 26,000. According to Chad Huff, co-author of the study, this might have been human’s normal state. He told reporters, “either the population got large and collapsed or the ancestors of modern humans were always a very small population for millions of years.” Humans might just have been what we would consider now an “endangered species” for most of their history.
150,000 Years Ago:
195,000 years ago, the world changed dramatically. Extreme temperature drops destroyed habitats and expanded glaciers. The era is officially called Marine Isotope Stage 6 and informally called the “glacial stage,” though scientists believe it was more akin to an “ice desert.” The majority of the world was cold and dry. Humans started splitting up, being driven out of habitable areas. That took a toll on the human population and some scientists believe that the human breeding population shrank down to around 600 people.
70,000 Years Ago
About 70,000 years ago, Sumatra exploded in what is known as the Toba super-eruption. Super-eruptions are particularly catastrophic because “their environmental effects threaten civilization. Globally, the Toba threw enough ash and debris into the air to dim the sun for six years. Some experts believe the entire population could have been whittled down to between 1,000 and 10,000 people.