Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $48.75

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

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

What listeners say about When Humans Nearly Vanished

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Scott Fitzsimmons
  • Scott Fitzsimmons
  • 02-02-2019

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.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Steve
  • Steve
  • 11-02-2020

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Monks
  • Monks
  • 12-10-2020

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.

1 person found this helpful

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.