Earth apocalypse would need only ‘few hundred’ people for human race to survive

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An apocalypse on Earth would need only a "few hundred" human survivors for the species to live on, an expert claimed.

The world's current population is a mammoth 7.8 billion people, but only a tiny fraction of that amount would be needed if the planet as hit by an asteroid strike or experienced a nuclear war.

Cameron Smith, an assistant professor at the Department of Anthropology at Portland State University in Oregon, told Live Science: "With populations in the low hundreds, you can probably survive for many centuries.

"And many small populations of that kind have survived for centuries and perhaps millennia."

Mr Smith said big cities would be most vulnerable if global civilisation were to crumble as they import almost all of their food and heavily reliant on electricity to live.

Surviving populations would likely spread out to find resources.

A population of a few hundred people would need a way of maintaining a breeding smith, Mr Smith said.

Inbreeding or breeding between closely related individuals is one of the many challenges people would face.

During the early Neolithic period (which began when the last Ice Age ended around 12,000 years ago) humans began farming and there were many small villages with populations ranging from the low hundreds to around 1,000 people.

According to Mr Smith they were "rather independent populations".

He added: "I suspect they also had breeding links and marriage interconnections with other villages.

"And in an apocalyptic scenario, I imagine the same thing would happen."

Humans could prepare populations to survive a doomsday event – if they saw it coming.

This could include building refuges to safeguard the species in the event of a global catastrophe happening.

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