The fact that there are so many individuals roaming around the globe is definitely the perfect scenario, considering what our ancestors had been through. There is a peculiar hole in the human fossil record throughout the Pleistocene, according to a group of geneticists who spearheaded the investigation. A catastrophic catastrophe that occurred just shy of a million years ago came dangerously close to eradicating the progenitors of mankind. Despite this, our forebears were successful in maintaining a resilient spirit. Find out below what the findings of the latest study were and how our ancestors came close to becoming extinct.
The gap in the African and Eurasian fossil records can be explained by this bottleneck in the Early Stone Age chronologically. It coincides with this proposed time period of significant loss of fossil evidence, explains Giorgio Manzi, an anthropologist at the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy.
According to evidence gleaned from the genomes of 3,154 modern humans, our ancestors’ population dropped from around 100,000 breeding individuals to only 1,280 breeding individuals approximately 900,000 years ago. That is a staggering population decrease of 98.7 percent that occurred over the course of 117,000 years and had the potential to wipe out all human beings. However, the farther back the time frame you wish to explore, the more difficult it is going to be to pick out a relevant signal. It’s almost as though history doesn’t want to tell its own narrative.
What terrible event led to their extinction?
For this most recent investigation, the research team came up with a novel approach that they dubbed FitCoal (fast infinitesimal time coalescent process). The goal of this approach was to avoid the typical buildup of numerical mistakes that are associated with attempting to piece together the events of the past. The findings indicated that there was a substantial population bottleneck between around 930,000 and 813,000 years ago that led to a decline of up to 65.85 percent of the genetic variety that exists today.
It is likely that disturbances in the climate caused conditions that were unfriendly to our ancestors, who were struggling for existence at the time. These conditions might have led to starvation and conflict, both of which further lowered population numbers.
Shouldn’t we be grateful to the few ancestors who made it through that time period?!