What lies behind the mask
This website is made available for educational purposes only. Nothing on this website is intended to serve as medical, technical or expert advice. If medical, technical or expert advice is needed, the visitor is urged to seek such
advice from a qualified professional. The author and publisher shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly,
by the information contained in this website.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Oliver Chiapco. All Rights Reserved.
(Images from the Library of Congress, NASA, NOAA, USGS, CDC, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management are NOT copyrighted and DO NOT express or imply endorsement of the book.)
The ultimate common denominator
Beneath the skin is the same ancient biological origin.
1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption, Philippines.
U.S. Geological Survey/ Cascades Volcano
Spread of the Mount Pinatubo volcanic ash cloud.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia. The lake is in
the caldera of a supervolcano./NASA Johnson
Space Center - Earth Sciences and Image
Human Evolution and the Origin of Races: Is There a Superior Race?
- The subject of human evolution is complex and lengthy. There are a number of competing theories within the scientific
community that will continue to be debated for years to come. For the sake of discussion, one of the theories is briefly
explored in this section.
- It is believed that a supervolcano called Mount Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia erupted with extreme ferocity some 70,000
years ago. According to the theory, the explosion was so catastrophic that it spewed massive amounts of debris into the
atmosphere, creating a thick blanket of ash and gases that blocked the sun for several years, thereby causing a volcanic winter
that further plunged the already frozen planet into a deeper freeze.
- The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 illustrates this global climate effect on a smaller scale. This
particular eruption reduced the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface and lowered average global
temperature by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degree Celsius) for over a year.
- On a cataclysmic scale, the Toba eruption is believed to have triggered not only a catastrophic volcanic winter but a massive
and global ecological disaster as well. With solar radiation effectively blocked, global deforestation would have ensued,
leading to food chain collapse, famine and mass extinction.
- It is believed that the event could have wiped out the existing human populations down to a mere thousand or perhaps ten
thousand breeding pairs, thereby creating a population bottleneck.
- A population bottleneck (or genetic bottleneck) is an evolutionary event characterized by a significant
decline in the size of a population or species. Such events may be triggered by major biological or
environmental mechanisms such as disease, famine, geologic upheavals, climatic crisis or any
combination thereof. The end result is a steep drop in population size which could either recover or
- Thus if a normally large human population is decimated
into a few surviving individuals, the pool of possible mates
is significantly reduced, hence increasing inbreeding and
decreasing genetic diversity in the gene pool.
- The fact that all 7 billion human beings living today
virtually have identical DNA suggests such a bottleneck
in human evolution and a common recent ancestor.
- The next question, therefore, would be where were
these survivors located during and after the eruption?
- Although the location would remain a subject of debate, the most conceivable geographic region is Equatorial
- Thus, along this line, one can argue that all humans living today, despite obvious outward differences, are descended
from the small bands of African survivors whose progeny would go on to repopulate the rest of the world.
- The possible link between the supereruption and the
apparent bottleneck was first suggested by Ann Gibbons in
1993 in the October edition of Science. The idea promptly
gained support later that year from Michael Rampino of
New York University and Stephen Self of the University
of Hawaii at Manoa. In 1998, Stanley H. Ambrose of the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign further
elaborated on the theory.
- In a modern world where bigotry still exists, the
implications are quite ironic.
- Hence the burning question that squarely points the gun at
the theory: If we all came out of Africa, then why
don't we all look more like Africans?
- The plausible answers are explored in greater detail in the book's nineteenth chapter, One.