Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2020-05-25

Focus

InsideHPC's Rich Brueckner passes away at 58 ...

Only half of the EuroHPC countries confirmed they will participate in co-funding EuroHPC projects ...

Quantum computing

Atos and CSC empower the Finnish quantum research community with Atos Quantum Learning Machine ...

Quantum Hall effect 'reincarnated' in 3D topological materials ...

University of California Los Angeles physicists develop world's best quantum bits ...

Quantum leap: Photon discovery is a major step toward at-scale quantum technologies ...

Focus on Europe

HPC-AI Advisory Council and ISC Group continue Annual Student Cluster Competition as an online event ...

ELASTIC software architecture advances urban mobility in Florence ...

Middleware

Waste energy of LUMI supercomputer produces 20 percent of the district heat of Kajaani ...

Italy-based Do IT Systems becomes Bright Services Partner ...

Hardware

Microsoft claims to have built new supercomputer for OpenAI ...

New York University and IBM research takes electrons for a spin in moving toward more efficient, higher density data ...

GRC wins Phase I of AFWERX Programme ...

Samsung Electronics expands its foundry capacity with a new production line in Pyeongtaek, Korea ...

HPE reports Q2 results ...

Intersect360 Research invites your input in an all new survey ...

Applications

Scientists seeking therapies for deadly bacterial disease ...

2020 OLCF User Meeting will happen remote together ...

Summit supercomputer is mining for COVID-19 connections ...

A new method for unraveling complex gene interactions ...

ACM honours computing innovators for advances in research, education and industry ...

Discovery about the edge of fusion plasma could help realize fusion power ...

Superconductors with 'zeitgeist' - When materials differentiate between past and future ...

NIST team builds hybrid quantum system by entangling molecule with atom ...

BIOS IT partners with Panasas to deliver ActiveStor Ultra turnkey HPC storage appliances ...

Supercomputer model simulations reveal cause of Neanderthal extinction ...

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is supporting COVID-19 research ...

The Cloud

New technique separates industrial noise from natural seismic signals ...

Lyell Immunopharma goes all-in on AWS as its Cloud provider ...

WekaIO furthers Weka AI by integrating with deep learning pipeline management solution from Valohai ...

Supercomputer model simulations reveal cause of Neanderthal extinction


Computer simulations of population density of Neanderthals (left) and Homo Sapiens (right) 43.000 years ago (upper) and 38.000 years ago (lower). Orange (green) circles indicate archeological sites of Neanderthals (Homo Sapiens) during 5000-year-long intervals centred around 43 and 38 thousand years before present.
20 May 2020 Daejeon - Climate scientists from the IBS Center for Climate Physics discovered that, contrary to previously held beliefs, Neanderthal extinction was neither caused by abrupt glacial climate shifts, nor by interbreeding with Homo Sapiens. According to new supercomputer model simulations, only competition between Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens can explain the rapid demise of Neanderthals around 43 to 38 thousand years ago.

Neanderthals lived in Eurasia for at least 300.000 years. Then, around 43 to 38 thousand years ago they quickly disappeared off the face of the earth, leaving only weak genetic traces in present-day Homo Sapiens populations. It is well established that their extinction coincided with a period of rapidly fluctuating climatic conditions, as well as with the arrival of Homo Sapiens in Europe. However, determining which of these factors was the dominant cause, has remained one of the biggest challenges of evolutionary anthropology.

To quantify which processes played a major role in the collapse of Neanderthal populations one needs to use mathematical models that can realistically simulate the migration of Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens, their interactions, competition and interbreeding in a changing climatic environment. Such models did not exist previously.

In a new paper published in the journalQuaternary Science Review, Axel Timmermann, Director of the IBS Center for Climate Physics at Pusan National University, presents the first realistic computer model simulation of the extinction of Neanderthals across Eurasia. The model which is comprised of several thousands of lines of computer code and is run on the IBS supercomputer Aleph, solves a series of mathematical equations that describe how Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens moved in a time-varying glacial landscape and under shifting temperature, rainfall and vegetation patterns. In the model both hominin groups compete for the same food resources and a small fraction is allowed to interbreed.

The key parameters of the model are obtained from realistic climate computer model simulations, genetic and demographic data.

"This is the first time we can quantify the drivers of Neanderthal extinction", stated Axel Timmermann. "In the computer model I can turn on and off different processes, such as abrupt climate change, interbreeding or competition", he stated. By comparing the results with existing paleo-anthropological, genetic and archeological data, Axel Timmermann demonstrated that a realistic extinction in the computer model is only possible, if Homo Sapiens had significant advantages over Neanderthals in terms of exploiting existing food resources. Even though the model does not specify the details, possible reasons for the superiority of Homo Sapiens could have been associated with better hunting techniques, stronger resistance to pathogens or higher level of fecundity.

What exactly caused the rapid Neanderthal demise has remained elusive for a long time. This new computer modelling approach identifies competitive exclusion as the likely reason for the disappearance of our cousins. "Neanderthals lived in Eurasia for the last 300.000 years and experienced and adapted to abrupt climate shifts, that were even more dramatic than those that occurred during the time of Neanderthal disappearance. It is not a coincidence that Neanderthals vanished just at the time, when Homo Sapiens started to spread into Europe", stated Axel Timmermann. He added: "The new computer model simulations show clearly that this event was the first major extinction caused by our own species."

A research team at the IBS Center for Climate Physics is now improving the computer model to also include megafauna and implement more realistic climate forcings. "This is a new field of research in which climate scientists can interact with mathematicians, geneticists, archeologists and anthropologists", stated Axel Timmermann.

Axel Timmermann is the author of the paper titled " Quantifying the potential causes of Neanderthal extinction: Abrupt climate change versus competition and interbreeding ", published inQuaternary Science Reviews, 2020 - DOI: 10.1016/J.QUASCIREV.2020.106331.

Source: Institute for Basic Science

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2020-05-25

Focus

InsideHPC's Rich Brueckner passes away at 58 ...

Only half of the EuroHPC countries confirmed they will participate in co-funding EuroHPC projects ...

Quantum computing

Atos and CSC empower the Finnish quantum research community with Atos Quantum Learning Machine ...

Quantum Hall effect 'reincarnated' in 3D topological materials ...

University of California Los Angeles physicists develop world's best quantum bits ...

Quantum leap: Photon discovery is a major step toward at-scale quantum technologies ...

Focus on Europe

HPC-AI Advisory Council and ISC Group continue Annual Student Cluster Competition as an online event ...

ELASTIC software architecture advances urban mobility in Florence ...

Middleware

Waste energy of LUMI supercomputer produces 20 percent of the district heat of Kajaani ...

Italy-based Do IT Systems becomes Bright Services Partner ...

Hardware

Microsoft claims to have built new supercomputer for OpenAI ...

New York University and IBM research takes electrons for a spin in moving toward more efficient, higher density data ...

GRC wins Phase I of AFWERX Programme ...

Samsung Electronics expands its foundry capacity with a new production line in Pyeongtaek, Korea ...

HPE reports Q2 results ...

Intersect360 Research invites your input in an all new survey ...

Applications

Scientists seeking therapies for deadly bacterial disease ...

2020 OLCF User Meeting will happen remote together ...

Summit supercomputer is mining for COVID-19 connections ...

A new method for unraveling complex gene interactions ...

ACM honours computing innovators for advances in research, education and industry ...

Discovery about the edge of fusion plasma could help realize fusion power ...

Superconductors with 'zeitgeist' - When materials differentiate between past and future ...

NIST team builds hybrid quantum system by entangling molecule with atom ...

BIOS IT partners with Panasas to deliver ActiveStor Ultra turnkey HPC storage appliances ...

Supercomputer model simulations reveal cause of Neanderthal extinction ...

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is supporting COVID-19 research ...

The Cloud

New technique separates industrial noise from natural seismic signals ...

Lyell Immunopharma goes all-in on AWS as its Cloud provider ...

WekaIO furthers Weka AI by integrating with deep learning pipeline management solution from Valohai ...