Friday, April 25, 2008

Humans nearly wiped out 70'000 years ago

I have decided to add exceptional scientific research to my blog from time to time, that is not directly related to stuttering. I want to share my fascination with the scientific research out there, that allows us to understand our world better every day, often with surprising answers. I am always impressed how it all fits together harmoniously. And, the confidence gained should comfort us that science will find out what stuttering is all about. I have no doubt about this!

My first post links to this article: Humans nearly wiped out 70'000 years ago. Apparently, humans went through a dramatic phase 70'000 years ago when we were reduced due to severe droughts to a few thousand people, as compared to the insane 6.6 billion that we are today! It is fascinating how geneticists can make sure statements from long long time ago just by looking at the (mitochondrial) DNA. Often, such periods of extreme stress are periods of extreme selection, and we might well have gained part of our cognitive and communication abilities from our ancestors' suffering! What doesn't kill you makes you strong! :-)

4 comments:

Olivier said...

Is it due to supervolcano ?

Tom Weidig said...

No, it says droughts. The climate in the African region changed.

Anonymous said...

I think your spot on Tom. The rough climate simply called for creative thinking in order to survive.
Maybe this period lay the foundation for the development of the "modern" brain...

Tom Weidig said...

Yes, no doubt selection pressures are greater in these times.

However, what I do not understand is why higher cognitive and communication (especially language) abilities should lead to a better survival? The vast majority of species modify something and it is not higher cognitive and communication abilities like language, and happily survive. Why did we humans evolved cognitive and communication abilities to survive? What was so very special about our situation?