HP2C is closed

The content of these web pages will not be updated anymore.

Fact Sheets on HP2C

Two fact sheets presents the HP2C initiative and its projects.

Neanderthal Extinction

Individual-based modeling of humans under climate stress

The extinction of our closest relatives, the Neanderthals, coincides with two major events, extreme climatic fluctuation during the late Ice Age, and the arrival of modern human populations in Eurasia. Was Neanderthal extinction climate-made or man-made or both? Resolving these questions has proven difficult, because the available fossil and archaeological evidence is compatible with several scenarios of extinction, and because theoretical models and simulations are currently too generalized and/or computationally too expensive.

The aim of this project is to implement a parallelized high-performance computing framework for agent-based modeling (HP-ABM). This new approach will permit to investigate how short-term/small-scale patterns of individual human behavior and long-term/large-scale patterns of environmental change act together to influence human population dynamics on evolutionary time scales (>10 000 years).

Modeling Neanderthal extinction will serve as a “look back into the future”: the HP-ABM framework will be general enough to address current issues of population dynamics in a world facing increased climatic and environmental fluctuations, and experiencing new forms of population movement.

Read an article about this project »

Principal Investigator

  • Prof. C. P. E. Zollikofer, University of Zurich



  • Prof. Dr. Wesley Petersen, ETH Zurich

  • Dr. John David Weissmann, University of Zurich

  • Dr. Simone Callegari, University of Zurich

  • Dipl. biophys. Natalie Tkachenko, University of Zurich