An ancestral bottleneck

There’s a fascinating study out that posits human ancestors came from a group of 1,280 individuals:

Human ancestors in Africa were pushed to the brink of extinction around 900,000 years ago, a study shows. The work1, published in Science, suggests a drastic reduction in the population of our ancestors well before our species, Homo sapiens, emerged. The population of breeding individuals was reduced to just 1,280 and didn’t expand again for another 117,000 years.

These sorts of things come and go, and I’d be surprised if this is the final word on human origins from a scientific perspective.

What I found more interesting were the comment sections on various blogs and forums. There’s nothing stronger than the faith of materialists, and it was fascinating to see the rage, denial, and wanting to throw this whole thing out because it is seen as something akin to Adam and Eve by some Christians.

The type of person in a tizzy over this shows that the modern, educated, scientific materialist has a type of faith and is just as closed-minded as the caricatured religious fundamentalist. Covid showed this — by doing nothing Sweden had better outcomes than the vast majority of other countries. The critics of modern academia demonstrate this time and again, such as the difficulty in publishing counter-narrative research about discrimination against men. Although I find the whole anti-woke trope nauseating, I think many people embrace it as the only way to criticize what I call Western Consensus Thinking while secretly despising the right-wing politics. Another take on the Ketman.

Getting back to the original topic. It’s a stretch, but suppose early human ancestors had some memory of time where all of humanity was a tiny group living in a narrow yet lush space. And this memory was preserved in the numerous Mythologies that have something of an Eden story. This is something that could never be proven, but it’s always interesting to wonder.