Spiritual Lessons From Evolution IV
In the second of these essays on spiritual lessons from evolution, I wrote about being related to all living things on the planet. Let's take that a little further, how close is the relation among human beings?

About 75,000 years ago a volcano in Malaysia erupted. The Toba eruption was big, dwarfing Mount Saint Helens or even Pompeii's Vesuvius. The ash layer from the volcano is 9 meters thick in Malaysia; in India and Eastern Africa the ash layer is 3 to 6 meters thick.

About the time of the eruption, Homo Sapiens was living primarily in Eastern Africa, right in the path of the volcano "kill zone". The results were devastating. Humanity was reduced to a small population - estimates range from as low as 40 reproductive females to as high as 10,000.

Even with the high estimates, that's no more people than a small (very small) town. Talk about close relations; you and I are near cousins to everyone on earth.

The estimates are derived from working backwards from humanity's present day genetic uniformity. The Toba eruption is a fact and we have the ash layer to prove it. The genetic closeness of humanity is also a fact. The only speculation is in connecting the two events.

We are more closely related than almost any other species on earth. When the spiritually inclined say "We are all brothers," they're more accurate scientifically and genetically than anyone ever realized.