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January 09, 2005

Toba Event

I make an ostentatious attempt on this blog to not be particularly topical in relation to "current events," but, in light of the recent post-tsunami news tsunami, I thought some readers might find some information on the Toba Event interesting. This mega-explosion in central Sumatra ~70,000 years ago might have ushered in a global winter, which palaeoanthroplogist Stanely Ambrose suggests precipitated a series of local population bottlenecks (more here). Ambrose's thesis basically points to Toba as the seminal event which shaped the present forms of various subpopulations which emerged out of the bottlenecks with a varied suite of specialized adaptations and features resulting from founder effect (a form of adaptive landscape theory it seems). The Real Eve, by Stephen Oppenheimer, also features the Toba Event as the watershed that separated the populations of East and West Eurasia into two clades.

Posted by razib at 10:55 PM