Solving the Mystery of Neanderthal Man in the Supercomputer

CSCS is reporting on how supercomputers can explain why Homo neanderthalensis disappeared about 15,000 years ago. At that time modern humans, Homo sapiens, came to Europe and Homo neanderthalensis disappeared for good. Now the supercomputer is to assess which of the current hypotheses can explain their extinction.

Neanderthals were used to a cool climate, but still died out during the peak of the last ice age. (Image: Homo Neanderthalensis – Homo Sapiens: A Portrait. Stefan Auf der Maur, Marcia S. Ponce de Leon, Christoph P.E. Zollikofer, 2008)

20,000 to 200,000 years before our time, with Neanderthal man and modern man, at least two types of hominid were alive on Earth at the same time. Whereas modern humans in Africa and Neanderthals in Europe occurred separately from one another, in the Near East Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis lived alongside one another for around 100,000 years. Just why the Neanderthals suddenly died out more than 20,000 years ago remains unexplained to this day.

Christoph Zollikofer, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Zurich is developing with the help of CSCS simulations that could give an explication.

Read the article on the pages of CSCS »