“Human ancestors were Heidelberg… 2 million years of climate analysis and identification”

The results of tracking by supercomputer climate analysis are consistent with fossil analysis estimates.

IBS Climate Physics Research Center ‘Identification of the relationship between climate change and human evolution’ published in Nature

Survival period and habitat by hominin species

(Seoul = Yonhap News) Homo sapiens (purple shade on the left), Homo heidelbergensis (red shade in the middle), and Homo neanderthalensis (right shades of blue) preferred habitat. The lighter the shading value, the higher the chance of inhabitation. Dates entered (1ka = 1000 years ago in 1950) indicate the age of the most recent and oldest fossils used in the study. 2022.4.14 [과학기술정보통신부 제공]

(Seoul = Yonhap News) Reporter Sujin Oh = An international research team with domestic researchers used a supercomputer to investigate the relationship between climate change and human evolution and to trace the immediate ancestors of modern humans (Homo sapiens).

The Ministry of Science and ICT announced on the 14th that a research team from the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) Climate Physics Research Group (Director Axel Timmermann), together with German and Swiss researchers, revealed the link between climate change caused by astronomical factors and human evolution.

The research paper was published in the scientific journal ‘Nature’ on the 14th (Korean time).

There are studies in the archaeological community that climate change is related to the succession and differentiation of ancient human species. It is not clear what effect it has.

To solve this problem, the research team analyzed the development and decline of glaciers, changes in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the past, and changes in the Earth’s rotation axis and orbit, using the supercomputer Aleph owned by IBS to determine the climate of about 2 million years of temperature and precipitation. created the material.

Aleph is currently the fastest research supercomputer in Korea.

The climate model simulation was conducted by IBS Research Fellow Kyungsook Yoon (co-author). The research team explained that this is the longest climate model simulation performed in the academic world so far.

The research team combined climatic data, vegetation, fossils, and archaeological data to combine the five human species of the hominin (human race) to which modern humans belong (Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo erectus, and Homo ergaster). · Homo habilis) estimated the habitats in each era and constructed a space-time map of the hominin species.

In addition, the research team derived the genealogy of five hominin groups by investigating whether hominin species can coexist in the same habitat by contacting each other.

Through this, the research team estimated that the modern human Homo sapiens originated from the late African Homo Heidelbergensis (Heidelbergs).

The research team explained, “The climate-based ancestry reconstructed in this study is very similar to recent estimates obtained from genetic information and human fossil analysis.”

Habitat analysis of hominin species
Habitat analysis of hominin species

(Seoul = Yonhap News) According to Director Timmerman, between 2 and 1 million years ago, early African humans preferred highly stable habitats with a limited range of net primary productivity (NPP, a measure of vegetation growth rate). This changes dramatically with the advent of Homo heidelbergensis. Homo heidelbergensis migrated to Eurasia and adapted to a very cold and dry environment. Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthals) had the largest brain size, but specialized only in certain habitats, and Homo sapiens’ superior adaptive and social abilities allowed it to survive in the harshest climatic conditions. 2022.4.13 [과학기술정보통신부 제공

아울러 이들은 100만년∼80만년 전 전후로 빙하기, 간빙기의 주기가 약 4만1천년에서 10만년으로 바뀌며 호모 하이델베르겐시스가 더 다양한 범위의 식량 자원에 적응했고 이 때문에 호모 하이델베르겐시스가 유럽, 동아시아의 먼 지역까지 이동할 수 있었음을 밝혀냈다.

이번 연구의 제1저자이자 교신저자인 팀머만 단장은 “200만년전∼100만년전 인류는 매우 안정적인 서식지를 선호했지만 호모 하이델베르겐시스가 출현하고 이들이 유라시아도 광범위하게 이동하며 매우 건조하고 추운 새로운 환경에 적응했다”고 말했다.

그는 “기후 모델링, 고고학, 인류학 데이터를 결합해 과거 기후 변화가 고대 인류종이 살았던 곳에 영향을 끼쳤으며 주요 종의 분화가 기후 변화와 관련되어 있다는 점을 알아냈다”고 강조했다.

아울러 그는 기후 모델 시뮬레이션은 우리의 미래 기후를 예측하는 데도 유용하게 쓰일 수 있다고 강조했다.

팀머만 단장은 “지난 수십만 년간 가장 추웠던 빙하기와 지금의 기온이 -5℃ 정도밖에 차이가 안 나는데 현재 이산화탄소 방출량으로 인한 기후 변화가 계속된다면 향후 100년 뒤 또 5℃가 오를 것이라는 결과가 나왔다”고 말했다.

그는 “우리의 조상이 기후 변화를 통해 이주, 이동을 통해 적응했듯이 우리도 잘못했다가는 변화하는 지구 기후에 적응하기 위해 다른 지역으로 어쩔 수 없이 이주해야 할 것”이라고 말했다.

악셀 팀머만 IBS 기후물리연구단장
악셀 팀머만 IBS 기후물리연구단장

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