January 19, 2009
Human evolution is believed to have begun some
six million years ago. Despite the passage of so much time, the
amount of diversity among
the DNA of all humans is minuscule.
Some 75,000 years ago, something apocalyptic occurred that left
relative few humans alive to carry on the species.
The cause of this bottleneck is now believed to have been a massive
volcanic eruption on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
A super-eruption from the site of
Lake Toba in Sumatra blasted out
more than two hundred cubic miles of ash over an area of over a
million square miles.
This program investigates the devastating aftermath of the most
powerful volcano of the last twenty-five million years - including
the theory that it triggered a human genetic bottleneck leaving a
tiny band, as low as a few thousand survivors to preserve the human
race - and looks at the threat of super-volcanoes in the 21st