Human ancestors nearly went extinct 900,000 years ago

Hu et al. detected a reduction in the population size of our ancestors from about 100,000 to about 1,000 individuals, which persisted for about 100,000 years. Image credit: Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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.

“About 98.7% of human ancestors were lost,” says Haipeng Li, a population geneticist at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, who co-led the study. He says that the fossil record in Africa and Eurasia between 950,000 and 650,000 years ago is patchy and that “the discovery of this bottleneck may explain the chronological gap”.

Nick Ashton, an archaeologist at the British Museum in London, who wrote a related perspective2, says he was intrigued by the tiny size of the population. “This would imply that it occupied a very localized area with good social cohesion for it to survive,” he says. “Of greater surprise is the estimated length of time that this small group survived. If this is correct, then one imagines that it would require a stable environment with sufficient resources and few stresses to the system.”

Clues from modern DNA

To make their discovery, the researchers needed to invent new tools. Advances in genome sequencing have improved scientists’ understanding of population sizes for the period after modern humans emerged, but the researchers developed a methodology that enabled them to fill in details about earlier human ancestors. Serena Tucci, an anthropologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, says that such work was sorely needed. “We still know very little about the population dynamics of early human ancestors for several reasons, including methodological limitations and difficulties in obtaining ancient DNA data from old Homo specimens,” she says.

The researchers’ method allowed them to reconstruct ancient population dynamics on the basis of genetic data from present-day humans. By constructing a complex family tree of genes, the team was able to examine the finer branches of the tree with greater precision, identifying significant evolutionary events.

The technique “put the spotlight on the period 800,000 to one million years ago — for which there is much unknown — in a way that hasn’t been done before,” says Stanley Ambrose, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

This period was part of the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition — a time of drastic climate change, when glacial cycles became longer and more intense. In Africa, this led to long periods of drought. Li says that the changing climate might have wiped out human ancestors and forced new human species to emerge. Eventually, these might have evolved into the last common ancestor of modern humans and our extinct relatives, the Denisovans and Neanderthals.

Comment: This study puts all our current whining about how bad thing are in proper perspective. We damned near went the way of the dodo bird. It does give hope that we can survive as a species even if we do manage to damned near annihilate ourselves.

Although the quote in this article are from US anthropologists, the study’s authors are almost exclusively Chinese computational biologists, genomic researchers and AI specialists. Given the recent and ongoing discussion on the dangers of AI run amok, it good to see a more beneficial use of the technology. I won’t even try to explain the science behind this kind of genomic research. When I was taking calculus at RPI, I was convinced that it was a cruel joke being played on us non-mathematicians. Beyond a few basic concepts, it made no damned sense to me. The algebraic geometry used in a lot of AI makes even less sense to me.


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40 Responses to Human ancestors nearly went extinct 900,000 years ago

  1. Fred says:

    “The decline appears to have coincided with both major climate change and subsequent speciation events.”
    Oh my! Was that due to pre-Neanderthal industrial CO2 output or dinosaur emissions? (I’m sure they are not the same as the ‘scientists’ are emitting out of their, ah, methodology.) “Speciation” events. How marvelous. Was the tsetse fly around, or maybe smallpox emerged? Better expand the methodology a bit.

    I especially like the phrase “methodological limitations”.
    Boy there’s an excuse for a few PHDs, a grant, or a reason why we can never challenge ‘climate change’ policies imposed by elected officials as advised by ‘science’ that has no methodological limitation (convenient, that).

    • TTG says:


      Surely you’re aware of the many glacial-interglacial cycles that have occurred. That global warming and global cooling is climate change and yes, it does happen. The cycles of 900,000 to 600,000 years ago were relatively extreme and abrupt. All sorts of flora and fauna came and went. Maybe your tsetse fly and smallpox were among them.

      • Fred says:


        that can not possibly be! Now you are just acting like words can be redefined to meet the ends of politicians and their supporters. Why experts are telling our politicians that we have to eliminate our industrial society to adjust the CO2 level of planet Earth to prevent, what’s the buzz phrase, “climate change”, from happening. Better not tell them though, a whole lot of sinecures would be at risk.

        • TTG says:


          There’s climate change and there’s anthropogenic climate change. At one time, 65 or more million years ago, CO2 levels were many times higher than now. There were dinosaurs in a tropical Antarctica. We have a ways to go before anthropogenic CO2 rise gets that bad. Mankind could probably survive that, but not as our present industrial society which you dearly want to preserve. We could also have a round of natural and massive volcanic eruptions to bring about another global cooling or we could have a massive nuclear exchange, quite anthropogenic BTW, and do the same.

          • Fred says:


            “our present industrial society which you dearly want to preserve. ”

            And you will leave your posterity with… oh wait, Earth’s gonna die and we’ll solve it by de-industrializing, and opening the borders; meanwhile East of the Diocletian line…

          • TTG says:


            Our present industrial society is based on highly centralized, hydrocarbon generated power. I support a move to a more localized power structure with solar and other renewables along with small modular reactors. A move away from the oligarchs of big oil and big power would be good for society and the environment.

      • F&L says:

        You might ask Fred, if he ever heard of the “black death” of our recent Medieval past in case he won’t comprehend that impersonal forces aside from Democrats and Republicans (whose behavior indeed does defy the understanding of our planet’s finest scientists) are capable of reducing human numbers quickly and catastrophically. Good luck though. The entire US military will have its hand full when asteroid apophis makes his visit in a few years. But that’s when wise comedians like Fred will be needed in abundance, so be kind.

        • Fred says:


          Antonine plague, but down to 1280 pair it didn’t go. When did whatever evolve “… into the last common ancestor of modern humans and our extinct relatives, the Denisovans and Neanderthals.” Well, for a grant I’ll find out for you – in a decade or so. I’ll start with Otzi, since I haven’t had a good Italian meal in quite a while. I’ll expand my research methodology from there. Kind of Bourdain meets archeology.

          I would start in California, not to disprove the Calaveras’ skull, or to find Data’s, but pooh (not winnie) that ain’t fossilized isn’t my thing. Time’s Arrow doesn’t go straight, like much of hollywood.

      • mcohen says:

        Ttg Off topic in a way

        Would mind answering a question.You knew the colonel well.
        And you have experience in these things
        If you had to breakdown into 5 main points of a combination drone and infantry advances on dug in positions what would they be.
        Include satellite

        • TTG says:


          That’s a tall order. I’ll address that in a separate post about multi dimensional operations (MDO) and how the whole gamut of drones may fit into MDO. But yes I do see reconnaissance and strike drones fitting prominently in infantry attacks on prepared defenses. Satellites could aid in reconnaissance both before and during the attack and in communications, even on the tactical level. That includes drone control.

          • Billy Roche says:

            So you’d like to get away from big oil and big power. You are speaking more socialist code. What u really want is to get away from corporations, owned by millions of every day Americans who have made a FREE choice to risk their money and buy partial ownership; and replace them w/national ownership. But the idea of localized (you like small b/c u have a problem with private individuals making money) power is not a good idea. Imagine, power stations damning up rivers every 100 miles to drive hydro plants svcng local mrkts. That’s not good. That’s why power companies are usually private companies w/authorization from state gov’t for the right to control a larger (bigger is more efficient) market. I’ll bet you would also prefer state controlled power grids for electricity distribution. Where have state run grids every displayed excellent response to the public?
            You don’t want private companies extracting oil either? You know all holes are not productive. You would prefer the state to absorb the cost of dry holes? Private companies do that now. It is a business cost to the shareholders. As an optng expense the company can expense that loss against the current year’s profits. That’s good. We need them to stay in business and find, extract, transport, refine, and transport product to the free market. Lots of jobs go w/that effort and the company, its employees, and all related business, pay plenty of tax money to state and federal govt. That’s also good! Our discussion is both political and economic. America’s founders wanted personal independence to allow each INDIVIDUAL to pursue, bound by law and morality, their own idea of happiness. As time went by and industrialization produced more (and cheaper) products, employed more people, and srvcd wider mrkts, they needed bigger machines. They cost more money so companies went public to attract shareholders to help pay for them. Industry grew and so did the economy. People made money. More good! Some people make more than others. People are not the same. Nevertheless, a free market economy offers more people the chance to make more money than state run economies. We just had a 70 year experience in Eastern Europe that proved it. Giving the state control over how we work encourages totalitarians. We saw that in Germany, Italy, and Russia. So I must disagree. A move away from big oil, power, pharma, medicine, or whatever is NOT in the best interest of a vibrant free market or a free people. I suspect we’ll talk more on this. whew!

          • TTG says:

            Billy Roche,

            Yes, I want to get away from big corporatism in oil, power, pharma and anything else. That doesn’t mean I want big government to replace big corporatism, but I do want state and federal government strong enough to resist the continuing corporate consolidation that has become a major characteristic of the free market. I agree with you that the free market is far better than a state run economy. I consider state run economies to be on par with big corporatism. They both lead to unhealthy consolidation of wealth and power (the political kind). As I’ve said before, I prefer the ideas of Samuel Gompers to those of Karl Marx.

        • F&L says:

          As long as we’re off topic and in honor of Col Lang who you mention, let me post this link and pasted excerpt, before saying: Thank you, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, Congress etc etc etc. Yes, thank you all so very much.

          And an actual sincere unsarcastic thank you to Ross Perot. Funny, looking back, huh? ☀️ ⬇️ 🚴‍♂️⬇️🚲⬇️🚴‍♂️☀️
          ➡️Why Did a Drug Gang Kill 43 Students? Text Messages Hold Clues.⬅️

          The Mexican police, military officers and others secretly colluded with a cartel that kidnapped 43 students, a case unsolved after nearly a decade. Wiretaps show just how much the authorities helped the cartel behind the mass abduction, and what led to it.

          It is perhaps Mexico’s most notorious cold case — 43 college students shot at by the police, forced into patrol cars, handed over to a drug cartel and never seen again.

          The mystery has haunted the nation for nearly a decade. How could a relatively unknown gang pull off one of the worst atrocities in Mexico’s recent history, with the help of the police and the military watching the mass abduction unfold in real time?

          A vast trove of about 23,000 unpublished text messages, witness testimony and investigative files obtained by The New York Times point to an answer: Just about every arm of government in that part of southern Mexico had been secretly working for the criminal group for months, putting the machinery of the state in the cartel’s hands and flattening any obstacle that got in its way.

          The police commanders whose officers snatched many of the students that night in 2014 had been taking direct orders from the drug traffickers, the text messages show. One of the commanders gave guns to cartel members, while another hunted down their rivals on command.

    • F&L says:

      As usual you are far too kind and eager to demonstrate tact worthy of the endangered or possibly extinct species of Northern America – the diplomat.

      What’s really on display in this latest fascinating post of our host TTG? His discomfort with advanced math? No. His lifelong fascination and study of anthropology and human origins? Yes, I think so, but only to a degree, not the full-Monty.

      One has to bear in mind that our host is a trained US Army Special Forces officer, though now in quiet, hard-earned retirement. And during the course of his long career especially as it happened during the post-WW2 segment of the OCW (Old Cold War) he necessarily studied brinkmanship. And as a Green Beret, psychological warfare. And as an officer-scholar, the psychology of the human unconscious.

      So, given that the masters of calculus and algebraic geometry, i.e. nitwits, who govern the Russian Federation have recently drug out their mighty but so far untested “Sarmats” for “combat duty,” (aren’t they such cute darlings?), Agent TTG here is either saying – “you have to ask yourself, do I feel lucky today?” or more likely, “we all – us humans – came back from only numbering roughly 1000 individuals, once upon a time, so, nice knowing you.”

      Final clue? His hat-tip to the Chinese in his citation of credits for the research. He’s saying – “you Chinese guys are capable of some pretty respectable work there, so watcha doin’ wit dese bozos who no longer are?”
      Please ignore everything written above the dotted line. It is the work of a dangerous escaped lunatic who is now under arrest and safely undergoing interrogation. Thank you.

      • F&L says:

        Evil science follower that I am who is less and less inclined with each passing day to think that Global Warming is a hoax perpetrated by a Scandinavian teenage victim of Asperger’s disease, and therefore someone who accepts that natural phenomena formerly thought to be purely natural might now have a big anthropoid-human component – here’s something to think about before you pull the lever for Vivek Ramaswamy or the nice lady who was Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, former governor of a big Southern state.
        Why India’s HUGE water problem will lead to a HUGE migration problem.
        India is the world’s largest country at 1.4 billion people. And of those 1.4 billion, about 450 million live in the northwest states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh. While that might be fine otherwise, these people live in a region is severely water stressed. And if India can’t get its water usage under control, those same 450 million Indians will need to move somewhere else.

        • Peter Hug says:

          I’m not sure Greta Thunberg would automatically see the Asperger’s as being a handicap, but rather might credit it with letting her see and formulate the problem more precisely. I’m not sure would disagree.

          You are right, though – anthropogenic Global Warming is a huge, urgent, and increasing threat to every aspect of our society. It can’t be ignored, and it really does need to be dealt with, sooner rather than later.

          I don’t know what will happen in NW India (or SE Asia for that matter), but if we don’t get on top of this it’s unlikely to be pretty.

          • F&L says:

            I misspoke, she’s diagnosed by armchair unprofessionals as “on the spectrum” meaning autistic which is actually a fairly recent pigeonhole. Aspergers is usually associated with autistic spectrums who are abnormally high IQ. She doesn’t seem too “high IQ” to me, but that’s me. Several notable people have been “diagnosed” by journalist hacks for the sake of attention, increasing circulation and clicks – its really disturbing. My own two cents is that bill ()ates is either Aspergers or a high IQ psychopath, but its foolish to do that without meeting a person and speaking at length with them and over 90% of us aren’t qualified to do so even if we do so. Even his wife didn’t get it, which is typical unfortunately.

            Why I Hate Bill Gates – MOON

            As usual I should provide a disclaimer about how competing Oligarchs might pay for hit pieces like that. Ok I did. I agree with the views expressed in the video though, in virtually every detail.

            Greta is being opportunistically used by various entities. Probably rewarded quite well. I agree that Global warming is a big problem. But I don’t like her one bit, and find it insulting that a disturbed misfit child is thrown at us in what may be a good cause. But it’s absolutely typical and illustrative of what our rich bastard rulers think of us.

      • Fred says:


        The true author of the piece is a graduate of Williams (&not Sonoma) College. Thus “climate change” is a requirement. It’s like having the Sword of Damocles handing -over your head. (but not this one:

        Kind of like the Earth being flat was settle science, until it wasn’t. Anyone that had ever seen a lake, or a mountain, knew it wasn’t true, but they weren’t credentialed. Or trying to get published.

  2. jgtthejg says:

    Pictures, or it never happened…

    • TTG says:


      Gave me a smile, but there’s at least a grain of truth in it. I was always perplexed how paleontologists could construct a whole being from a fragment of a thigh bone. Genetic sequencing, when available, goes a long way in filling the gaps. At the end of the article, that Brit archeologist says he wants to see more fossil record to support this genomic theory.

      • Peter Hug says:

        He’s got a point, but the central problem there is that if the human precursors were reduced to a functional breeding population of 1200, the likelihood of finding a fossil absolutely goes through the floor.

        • English Outsider says:

          I don’t think the absence or presence of a contemporaneous fossil record in this location or in other locations could tell us much.

          If the research detailed is correct, all it tells us is that a small group survived to become modern humans. It tells us that no other groups survived into history but it doesn’t tell us when those other possible groups died out. We might find fossils elsewhere from exactly the period claimed up to present times, and those fossils maybe with similar DNA. That would tell us nothing. Particularly since the claimed ancestor group could have been sending out colonising groups from its chance found Eden for the entire 117,000 years, and none of those colonising groups ever surviving.

          Then one or some colonising groups did and … Hello us!

          So back tracking with DNA research’s is the only means of arriving at such conclusions as these researchers state they have arrived at.

          And maybe it’s just that some Eve, at the end of the 117,000 years, produced some mutant supermen who forthwith went out and put the others to the sword. Or in their case the club. That sounds more like Hello us.

          The Yetis, or the Bigfoots the Colonel used to muse over, being some of the few groups that got wise to us and our clubs in time. And that also worked out that it was safer not to leave any fossil records lying around.

          So the combinations of circumstances we can guess at from this research are pretty well endless. Of course that that is so does not in itself invalidate the research, which is valuable.

          I was quite pleased when DNA research invalidated the account of population movements in the UK and continental Europe in more recent times that we had been taught as “history”. All that nonsense about how the Anglo-Saxons came over en masse and cleared out the indigenous Brits. Pleased because I’d placed a bet on it with a statistician, though I had to wait a few years before he was happy that DNA research had put the question past doubt.

          Valuable research indeed. He suddenly produced some notes one day and handed them over. I’d forgotten about the bet, or not taken it seriously. But statisticians do like to get their sums right.

      • Billy Roche says:

        Several years ago Alister Cooke did the voice over for a series on the “ascent of man”. I think it was entitled By The Skin of Our Teeth. I showed it each year in September to my 9th grade Global History and Geography classes. If you think they d/n pay attn you’d be wrong. They were spellbound. I’d go on to anthropology and archaeology. The more graphic I got with rulers, civilizations, etc the more I “had’em”. They came to class on time and listened up (or “got w/t program” as some here might prefer). Then the curriculum went to European kings and queens and bye bye class. Until I got to Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas. The kids loved their ahem, rituals. It held their attention and I used that interest to feed them the other stuff they had to know. If I could do it all over again I’d do Anthropology. What’s more interesting than “us”.

        • TTG says:

          Billy Roche,

          For me it was National Geographic’s “Dr. Leakey and the Dawn of Man.” Then Jane Goodall and her chimpanzees. She was my first celebrity crush. I started majoring in geology as the first step to becoming a paleoanthropologist. Geology, I figured, was a good fall back study since I could always get a job for an oil or mining company. Once I entered ROTC and my career path was set, I switched majors to anthropology, my real academic interest. My good friend from college also majored in anthropology. He made a living of it and recently retired as the state marine archeologist for Massachusetts.

    • Barbara Ann says:


      Amusing. Perhaps a cave painting will be discovered one day with a pictorial census of the lucky 1,280.

    • F&L says:

      Atoms don’t exist because you can’t see them.

      • jld says:

        Actually NOTHING exists in the Platonic sense of the word.

        This is the common misunderstanding about “ontologies”, an ontology is only an epistemic device you use to sort out your ideas.

        The only thing you and me are sure to “exist” is our own selves, though that does not mean solipsism, there is obviously something “out there” in the world which doesn’t bend to our will and fancy but nobody has a perfect picture of Kant’s “Ding an Sich”.

        • Barbara Ann says:


          Actually NOTHING exists in the Platonic sense of the word.

          As things clearly do exist could Plato not have invented a new word for the denial of existence – fugazi maybe?

          G. E. Moore had a perfect picture of Kant’s “Ding and sich” – as pure semantic nonsense. The logical fallacy of ‘Essentailism’ (the invention of the abstract essence of a thing separated from its reality) that started with Plato has led philosophers to some very weird places. Clearly people enjoy being bamboozled by clever folk who say “Who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”. But then I guess if you aspire to be a philosopher king this is useful.

          • jld says:

            As things clearly do exist

            I understand why and how you misconstrued my statement and somehow thought that I am an idealist (which I am not, and not a materialist either 🙂 )

            I will try to explain my position which is a bit intricate.

            SOMETHING do exists in the Platonic sense: the Universe as whole (and this is the one and only “Ding an sich”).

            However, all other things, concepts and qualities are only ideas, and very personal ones, only in YOUR head (or mine, or someone else) and therefore do not qualify for Platonic existence they are all “made up” by our sensory experiences.

            So, indeed, when you feel (say) the weight of a stone you are inclined to think that this stone “exists” but… WHAT is the stone which exists?

            Cristals? Molecules? Quarks and gluons?

            All and none of this, what truly exists is YOUR sensory experience of the weight of the stone and all your memories about stones, heaviness, colors, etc…

            And any of this could be misleading, it could be wood or metal or a wrong estimate of the weight because it is stuck to its support, etc…

            So, what you think “exists” is truly in your consciousness and not (reliably) “in the world”.

            Consciousness is the only true mystery, how it seemingly “emerge” from the material.
            There is no consensus about what consciousness IS or how it operates, in my opinion it is a dynamic property of matter (NOT the Cartesian Res Cogitans which is some sort of substance) as evidenced by the numerous studies of NCC (Neural Correlates of Consciousness) which link subjective reports with various physical measurements (EEG, etc…)

        • F&L says:

          “If solipsism is true, then no one believes it, because I don’t.”

          — My Philosophy Professor in University.

      • leith says:

        F&L –

        Through the miracle of imaging technology that can glimpse features smaller than a tenth of a nanometer we’ve been able to see atoms for at least the last 40 years.

  3. jim.. says:

    Bones…Proof of Actual Existence..
    Adapt and Survive…Those Homo Sapiens…Cast Out..But with Intelligence..Cunning..
    Creative..Like The Creator..First The Skins..and Caves..and Fire ..and Spears..Then
    Advanced Wepons..Bows..Arrows..High Ground..Adapt..Survive..Hunter..Gather..

    The Fossil Record..The Wall Art..The Spear Head in a Skull..
    The Flood..,,The Babble…Sumeria..The Human Race..Language…Math..Squares..Circles.. Relativity..The Conclave at Rome..
    The The Exodus..The Magic..And Mystery..of AI vs God..At the Cross….
    The Road To Berlin..and ATOM vs ADAM…Aryan Ego..Educated..Refined..
    And Now..Yes…Now..He Stomps His Boot..Almost Kicking His Hund…MAX

    The Worlds Most Famous Junkie..Now..a U Boat..To Hell,,

    And Homo Sapiens WILL Survive The Russian Roll Out..of Thier 200 Ton
    Atomic Bomb..Because the the Promise..And The Options..Available..On the
    Stairway The The Starts…Abrahams Dream…The NEW Story..In Newwark..

  4. SRW says:

    Don’t get your knickers in a bind by TTG’s linked article. It is a scientific theory and will never (I think) be proven or disproved.
    As for global warming, I don’t believe it’s just an unproven theory. Why? Because a proved theory called “quantum mechanics”. One of the items the theory states is that the energy levels of molecules (CO2) require a certain amount of energy (frequency) to be absorbed and their electron state raised to a higher level (more energy = more heat).
    “Greenhouse effect results from difference in down-going solar radiation in red region and up-going thermal radiation in blue region. Solar irradiation is absorbed, scattered and transmitted through the atmosphere and absorbed by the Earth’s surface. Irradiation from the Earth’s surface can be absorbed by carbon dioxide, water vapor and other emission gases in different bands of wavelength. Major amounts of oxygen gas and nitrogen gas are transparent to infrared radiation.”
    More percentage of CO2 = more heat.
    The quantum theory has been used by manufactures for years and years producing instruments that measure the amount of gases and other molecules in samples.
    So, human ancestors nearly went extinct 900,000 years ago? scientific theory might be true or not.
    Global warming? not a BS theory. Something you can prove using cheap scientific instrumentation.

    • Fred says:


      I only commented because of a simple article on something occurring almost a million years ago found it necessary to mention ‘climate change’. A term not defined there or elsewhere. Kind of like the new ‘gender’ terms, always amorphous and meaning whatever it needs to mean at a particular point in time. Everyone is free to do their part to save earth though and deindustrialize themselves. Travel by private jet still allowed, of course, in the interests of the important work that needs to be done. To fight climate change. Of course the ‘results’ of CO2 level changes (‘manmade’) can all be undone by a volcanic erruption. Meanwhile India, China, and most of the rest of the world are building coal fired electric plants and continuing to industrialize. Not that they ‘deny’ climate change, they just aren’t buying into the Western political paradigm of what ‘must’ be done.

    • F&L says:


      The ideas date back to Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius in the late 19th century. 1896. President Carter, highly trained in science himself, ordered a very extensive study of the phenomenon which was done by people at NASA, I think, before going ahead with his middle east oil policies if my memory serves. Los Alamos and Livermore were involved earlier due to studies of the atmospheric effects of nuclear tests and war. Freeman Dyson wrote about it in detail many years ago. Edward Teller was one of the ones involved with the ideas of distributing reflecting particles in the atmosphere. So this source isn’t the whole story. Dyson’s books are still available as are his articles in the LRB archives online.
      Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927) was a Swedish scientist that was the first to claim in 1896 that fossil fuel combustion may eventually result in enhanced global warming. He proposed a relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature. He found that the average surface temperature of the earth is about 15oC because of the infrared absorption capacity of water vapor and carbon dioxide. This is called the natural greenhouse effect. Arrhenius suggested a doubling of the CO2 concentration would lead to a 5oC temperature rise. He and Thomas Chamberlin calculated that human activities could warm the earth by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This research was a by-product of research of whether carbon dioxide would explain the causes of the great Ice Ages. This was not actually verified until 1987.

      After the discoveries of Arrhenius and Chamberlin the topic was forgotten for a very long time. At that time it was thought than human influences were insignificant compared to natural forces, such as solar activity and ocean circulation. It was also believed that the oceans were such great carbon sinks that they would automatically cancel out our pollution. Water vapor was seen as a much more influential greenhouse gas.

      (More at link including history of the science)

  5. jim.. says:

    Fourth…..Long….On Point..Clear Data…There were these Scientific Concerns…
    about Pollutions…Carbon Monoxide Production…What Would Increase Warming..
    and other Matters…I see All that as Scientific Research..Analysis..
    .Also.. Since
    It Just in time To Make Billion Dollar Gork Deals…”Solving” That Warmimg.. To the Delight of the only Surviving Species…Cows..Giant Cows..Four Udders Each..

    Anyhow…It Was Easy For Gore to Be Convinced of That By Some Corporate Minds..And The Ocean..Rain Cycle..going Kaput..

    In Fact…They Produce 10 Percent Bullshit..Political Pollution..and
    Percent of other Available Multi Layered Data..SLIPSISM
    .. (TY F n L..)

    FACT..In Line With TTG and Others..Vapor…Inhale…Exhale.. Bad Air…Good Air…
    Human and Geological.. Ozone.. GLOBAL WEATHER CHANGES..Sporatic..Regional..

    In the LAST 40 Years..1 BN HECTARES of Forest Are Gone..An Area the Size of Europe..Half the Worlds Rain Forest Have Been Razed…

    bad Air In..No Good Air Out..No Vapor Cycle.. NO Oxygen.. Just Two Billion Coal Stoves…Smoking Away ..In Asia..With all the New Hot Spots…Making Wind.

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