When Humans Nearly Vanished : The Catastrophic Explosion of the Toba Volcano
by Prothero, Donald R.







Prologue: A Very Bad Day on Planet Earth1(6)
1 Mystery of the Missing Megavolcano
7(20)
Serendipity
7(3)
Frozen in the Ice
10(4)
Data in Davy Jones's Locker
14(6)
Blowing the Case Wide Open
20(3)
Mystery Solved
23(4)
2 Vulcan's Fury
27(20)
The Forge of Hephaistos
27(10)
Incineration
37(7)
Why Do Volcanoes Behave So Differentlyfrom One Another?
44(3)
3 Land of the Killer Volcanoes
47(22)
The Indonesian Arc
47(3)
Krakatau Cracks
50(7)
Tambora and the Year without a Summer
57(8)
Supervolcanoes
65(4)
4 Clues in Your Genes
69(26)
The Blueprint of Life
69(8)
Too Many Genes
77(5)
Clockwork DNA
82(3)
"Mitochondrial Eve"
85(4)
Through the Bottleneck
89(2)
Bottlenecks in Humans
91(4)
5 Roots
95(18)
The Third Chimpanzee
95(6)
Fossils versus Molecules
101(2)
Out of Eurasia?
103(5)
The Piltdown Hoax
108(5)
6 Out of Africa
113(24)
The Taung Child, Mrs. Pies, and Dear Boy
113(9)
The Human Lineage
122(6)
Our Genus, Homo
128(2)
Modern Humans Evolve
130(7)
7 Humanity at the Crossroads
137(18)
Consilience
137(3)
The Threads of Toba
140(3)
Bottlenecks Everywhere
143(2)
Testing the Hypothesis
145(2)
The Critics Strike Back
147(4)
Where Do We Stand Now?
151(4)
8 Volcanoes of Doom
155(16)
The "Big Five"
155(3)
The Doom of the Dinosaurs
158(5)
"The Great Dying"
163(3)
The Third Eruption
166(2)
Volcanoes and Extinction
168(3)
9 Future Shocks
171(14)
Could It Happen Again?
171(6)
Supervolcanoes in America
177(3)
A Perspective on Catastrophes
180(5)
Acknowledgments185(2)
Index187


Various historic volcanoes, and the ability to survive them. It includes the Toba volcano, from Indonesia.





DONALD R. PROTHERO specializes in physics, planetary sciences, astronomy, earth sciences, and vertebrate paleontology. He taught for 35 years at the college level at Columbia, Knox, Pierce, and Vassar colleges, most recently as professor of geology at Occidental College and as lecturer in geobiology at the California Institute of Technology. He has authored or edited more than 300 scientific papers and 30 books, including Giants of the Lost World: Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Monsters of South America.





About 73,000 years ago, Sumatra's Mount Toba erupted. This supervolcano created an explosion over 1,000 times as powerful as Krakatoa and also, as Prothero writes, might possibly have come very close to wiping out human life on Earth. There is a lot to consider about this controversial argument, and in this slim title, Prothero looks at all of it. He covers current investigations into Toba's fallout, DNA analysis of the genetic-bottleneck theory, which suggests all of humanity can be traced to a small population from about 70,000 years ago, and theories about what humanity looked like at that time. His interests are wide, his sources varied, as he quotes from a long letter by Pliny the Younger, recalls the scientific achievements of Rosalind Franklin, and considers the serendipity of contemporary geological research. Prothero's enthusiasm is infectious, and his boundless curiosity will draw in readers who may have only the lightest of knowledge about volcanoes, especially one as obscure as Toba. Prothero is a valuable guide. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.






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