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How the Human Population Reached to 8 billion in 300,000 years

Having come out less than 2 weeks ago, the video from the American Museum of Natural History encapsulates the most current data regarding Earth's human population. But what's intriguing here isn't so much the current global-population figure (which currently stands at a staggering 8 billion), as how we got it.  

This narrative unfolds through a captivating animated visualization condensing 300,000 years – replete with migrations, the ebb and flow of empires, pivotal trade routes, technological advancements, pandemics, and conflicts – all compressed into a concise span of about four and a half minutes.

The accompanying textual exposition of the video explains, "Our modern human lineage emerged in Africa roughly 300,000 years ago." It continues, "Around 100,000 years ago, humanity embarked on a global migratory trajectory," a trajectory that still continues unabated in the twenty-first century.

The same can't be expressed for the course our numbers have increased over the past few hundred years, at least according to the projection that "global population will culminate this century" about 10 billion, because "average fertility rates declining in nearly every country." For some, this is not totally unwelcome, given that "as our population increases, so has our use of our planet's resources."

The days of pervasive apprehension about overpopulation in the developed world, reminiscent of the apocalyptic anxieties stirred by climate change, have waned. In contemporary times, warnings revolve more around the impending decline in the global population, with countries exhibiting low birth rates. Alternatively, humanity's historical expansion patterns might serve to advocate for interplanetary exploration and colonization, especially as a safeguard against potential cataclysms on Earth. Whatever trajectory our population graph charts in the years ahead, one constant remains: we will invariably perceive ourselves as existing within some form of pivotal moment.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy these books about human population:

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