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  • When Humans Nearly Vanished

  • The Catastrophic Explosion of the Toba Volcano
  • Written by: Donald R. Prothero
  • Narrated by: Qarie Marshall
  • Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
  • 3.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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When Humans Nearly Vanished

Written by: Donald R. Prothero
Narrated by: Qarie Marshall
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Publisher's Summary

Some 73,000 years ago, the Mount Toba supervolcano in toda's Indonesia erupted, releasing the energy of a million tons of explosives. So much ash and debris was injected into the stratosphere that it partially blocked the sun's radiation and caused global temperatures to drop for a decade. 

In this book, Donald R. Prothero presents the controversial argument that the Toba catastrophe nearly wiped out the human race, leaving only about a thousand to ten thousand breeding pairs of humans worldwide. Human genes today show evidence of a "genetic bottleneck", an effect seen when a population of organisms becomes so small that their genetic diversity is greatly reduced. This group of survivors could be the ancestors of all humans alive today. 

Prothero explores the geological and biological evidence supporting the Toba bottleneck theory, revealing how the explosion itself was discovered and offering insight into how the world changed afterward and what might happen if such an eruption occurred today.

©2018 Dreamscape Media, LLC (P)2018 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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  • Scott Fitzsimmons
  • 02-02-19

A very special book

I’ve never read a book that was almost entirely filler but more than 95 percent of the book has nothing to do with the Toba eruption. On the other hand, if you are seeking lengthy discussions of barely relevant or completely irrelevant topics like the extinction of the dinosaurs and the personal rivalries among the scientists who discovered DNA, then this book is for you.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Steve
  • 11-02-20

I almost quit

Throughout the book especially early on, the use of both Imperial and metric numbers was very annoying. This is unnecessary for the intended audience and is very distracting from the information being presented.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sturgie
  • 21-09-21

Generally disappointed

I don’t know. This was mostly a collection things like the differences among the hominids, different extinction events,; less focus on the Tobu event than I expected. Could becreduced to a three-episode podcast. Learned stuff though.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kitty Paige
  • 12-09-21

Outstanding presentation!

A precise, organized presentation of what could have been confusing information- brings several areas of expertise together to account for a very probable human genetic bottleneck approximately 70 million years ago, and ends with an uplifting and mind-broadening perspective on disasters and the human species. Narration was great!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Leah Berry
  • 02-09-21

excellent

thank you for putting all of this info together into this book. there is a ton of great info that all humans need to know about. more people need to know about this stuff in order to be better humans.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Monks
  • 12-10-20

Mountains of information, none about the subject

This book has done the impossible, it has made super volcano
and mass extinctions boring. Even worse, after slogging through the pages and pages of scientific fluff, you are still not giving a concrete answer or even theory. Right around chapter three somewhere, when I was slogging through X-ray crystallography, molecular structures of DNA, and how Dr. Rosalind Franklin was robbed by the patriarchy, I was starting to think that perhaps he just put a volcano on the cover of the book to sex it up a little. I am now much more intimate with the archeological finds of homo erectus than I ever wanted to be while reading about a volcano.

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  • Lorialea
  • 10-10-21

Complicated natural and geographic science

Really enjoyed this documentary on geology, evolution theory’s and vulcanology, made understanding and very good listening
Jennifer Baldwin morris.