Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Peopleing of the Planet

Edward Hessler

Gee, it was only yesterday, a mere 100,000 ybp, that humans began leaving their homelands on the vast and diverse continent that we know as Africa today.

I wonder what they considered as they moved from old, familiar territory to new and unfamiliar territory. Three things they had is found in Dr. Seuss's Oh the Places You'll Go: You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go....

Consequences, intended and unintended were likely not part of their personal equation, not that we've changed that much since that yesterday. They moved, though, in search of a better life.

Wikimedia Commons

And now we are 7 billion + and growing, a number that is large enough that it challenges understanding. So how did this happen?

A data visualization from the American Museum of Natural History doesn't help too much in grasping the large number that represents our population. It does, though, show how the planet was populated based on the current evidence. And you can see how millions add up, contributing to helping us grab a very large number. I was surprised at times to see population centers of a million that I'd either not known about or forgotten.

The visualization includes some of the large, historical events that allowed this growth as well as contributed to its acceleration.

It may be seen here.

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