Extreme cold may have nearly wiped out human ancestors 900,000 years ago

Ancestral populations rebounded by about 100,000 years later, a contested DNA analysis suggests

The skull of a member of the Homo heidelbergensis species sits on a podium in a museum.

Modern human DNA indicates that human ancestors may have brushed up against extinction starting around 900,000 years ago before bouncing back and possibly evolving into Homo heidelbergensis, a species represented by the African fossil skull shown here.


Human ancestors nearly died out between around 930,000 to 813,000 years ago in an evolutionarily pivotal population bust, a contested new study concludes.