Early humans experienced a supervolcano explosion while travelling from Africa to Australia


Early humans may have seen a supervolcano explosion up close as revealed through the analysis of two ancient teeth found in an Indonesian cave.

The two teeth also indicate that our species had arrived there as early as 73,000 years ago – and also adapt to the challenges of living in thick rainforest.

ancient humans experienced supervolcano eruption indonesia
Two ancient teeth found in a cave in Indonesia indicate that early human experienced a supervolcano eruption. via Nature

Ancient humans may have had to deal with the biggest supervolcano eruption of the last few million years. This is one of the many conclusions reealed by two ancient teeth found in a cave in Indonesia.

The discovery of 65,000-year-old stone tools and other artefacts in northern Australia baffled many archaeologists as Homo sapiens were just beginning to venture out of Africa at this time.

To get from Africa to Australia, H. sapiens would also have needed to march across mainland Asia, then sail across the sea. The route should have included a stopover on the islands of Indonesia and Timor, but no H. sapiens artefacts older than 45,000 years had been found on these islands, until now.

Now another group of researchers from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, have discovered that H. sapiens probably did set foot in these islands more than 65,000 years ago, after studying two teeth dug up by Dutch archaeologist Eugène Dubois in Lida Ajer cave on the Indonesian island of Sumatra in the late 19th century.

This is a significant finding because it supports emerging ideas that modern humans left Africa and reached Australia much earlier than we thought. It is also consistent with recent genomic analyses suggesting that our ancestors left Africa over 75,000 years ago and reached Indonesia more than 60,000 years ago.

Supervolcano eruption

This alo means that these early humans were present in Sumatra when the supervolcano Toba had one of Earth’s biggest known eruptions about 71,000 years ago.

This means again that to survive this cataclysmic event, these early populations would have had to adapt to Sumatra’s rainforest environment, thus complex planning and technological innovations.

That were real warriors!

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