Humans survived the Toba supervolcano eruption 74,000 years ago

Humans survived the Toba supervolcano eruption 74,000 years ago


Research suggests that the human populations present in Indonesia 74,000 years ago did survive the explosive eruption of supervolcano Toba.

About 74,000 years ago, the Earth became angry, triggering a volcanic super-eruption on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Its caldera today forms Lake Toba. This event was of exceptional intensity. Its explosiveness index is indeed estimated at eight on the VEI scale, which is the highest possible value. It is believed that a “volcanic winter” then developed for almost ten years, then causing global cooling of the planet for almost a thousand years.

This eruption has not only been the largest on our planet in the past two million years. It also coincided with some of the first human migrations out of Africa that aimed to reach Asia. So inevitably, many wondered what impact such an event could have on these populations.

One of the theories put forward suggests that most have died out, ultimately delaying our migration to the East. Still according to this idea, the Homo sapiens who survived in Africa at that time would then have operated a second great migration in the region about 14,000 years after the eruption.

However, is this really the case? A study published in the journal Nature Communications contends that this is not the case: our ancestors survived.

Human resilience
A team of geologists from the University of Queensland explains that they found stone tools at the Dhaba site in central India, suggesting that humans arrived at the site at least 80,000 years ago. and that they stayed there until at least 48,000 years ago.

Furthermore, these tools also seem to share similar characteristics with those made in Africa at the same time or those found in Australia 65,000 years ago. In other words, there is a technological continuity from the West to the East, along the migratory route taken by our ancestors.

If this super-eruption had indeed had a considerable impact on these populations, the authors emphasize that there would have been a deficit in the production of tools. However, this was clearly not the case. These humans therefore survived the disaster. The study also seems to suggest that the often-mentioned “volcanic winter” may have been milder than previously thought.

Finally, it should be noted that while these humans did show great resilience during the super-eruption, they ultimately did not contribute much to modern gene pools. In other words, these hunter-gatherers later faced other challenges that this time threatened their long-term survival. Man is resistant, but he also has his limits!