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Supercomputer Model Simulations Reveal Cause of Neanderthal Extinction


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Computer simulation of the population density of Neanderthals 43,000 years ago.

Climate scientists at the IBS Center for Climate Physics in South Korea say that according to new supercomputer model simulations, only competition between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens can explain the rapid demise of Neanderthals.

Credit: Institute for Basic Science (South Korea)

Climate scientists at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) Center for Climate Physics in South Korea used supercomputer models to determine that competition between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens was likely responsible for the former's extinction in Eurasia.

The researchers ran their model on the IBS Aleph supercomputer to simulate both groups' competition for food resources within a time-varying glacial environment under fluctuating temperature, rainfall, and vegetation patterns; a small percentage was allowed to interbreed.

The team fed the model key parameters from realistic climate simulations, as well as genetic and demographic data.

Comparing the model's results with existing paleo-anthropological, genetic, and archaeological information showed that Neanderthal extinction was only possible in the simulation if Homo sapiens had an advantage in exploiting existing food resources.

From Institute for Basic Science (South Korea)

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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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