What Was the Population of the Earth in Prehistoric times?

According to scientists from the University of Utah, the entire human population of Earth was less than 26,000 for about a million years. Even fewer, about 18,500, were capable of breeding. This means that 1.2 million years ago, humans were an endangered species. Endangered species are species at risk of becoming extinct.

Scientists arrived at these estimates based on studies of genetic variation in ancient humans. Although the exact causes of such low numbers are not known, experts believe it may be due to various events that killed many people. One such suspected event is a nuclear winter, a period of very cold temperatures, caused by an eruption of a super volcano in Indonesia 70,000 years ago. Less than 15,000 people survived the disaster.

More about the world and human population:

  • About 108 billion people have lived on earth since the beginning of history.

  • Homo sapiens (modern humans) first appeared on earth at about 50,000 B.C.

  • Growth rate of the human population was abnormally low between 542 A.D. and mid-1600s due to the Black Death -- bubonic plague.

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