Universiteit Leiden

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Dissertation

Virtual Neanderthals

This study presents an agent-based simulation model exploring the patterns of presence and absence of Late Pleistocene Neanderthals in western Europe.

Author
F. Scherjon
Date
27 May 2019
Links
Dissertation in Open Access

A study in agent-based modelling Late Pleistocene hominins in western Europe

HomininSpace implements a parameterized generic demographic and social model of hominin dispersal while avoiding parameter value biases and explicitly modelled handicaps.

Models are simulated through time within a high-resolution environment where reconstructed temperatures and precipitation levels influence the carrying capacity of the landscape. Model parameter values are assigned and varied automatically while optimizing the match with Neanderthal archaeology using a Genetic Algorithm (GA) inspired by the processes of natural selection. The system is able to traverse the huge parameter space that is created by the complete set of all possible parameter value combinations to find those values that will result in a simulation that matches well with archaeological data in the form of radiometrically obtained presence data.

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