News of the WeekArchaeology

Of Two Minds About Toba's Impact

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Science  05 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5970, pp. 1187-1188
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5970.1187-a

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About 74,000 years ago, Mount Toba on the Indonesian island of Sumatra erupted in the most cataclysmic volcanic event of the past 2 million years. How did this gigantic eruption affect modern humans? Was Homo sapiens even in Asia at the time? At a meeting last month on the impact of the Toba eruption, some archaeologists argued that modern humans had reached India by the time the volcano blew and that their populations made it through the eruption relatively unscathed.