Skip to main content

News & Events

Monday Seminar: Why didn't Neanderthals live in Alaska?

Monday, November 28, 2016, 12:00PM - 1:00PM


John Hoffecker



SEEC room S228

4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder, CO

Although famously adapted for life in cold climates, the Neanderthals left no compelling evidence for settlement in the colder and drier regions of northern Eurasia, including Beringia. Even the case for their presence on the central plain of Eastern Europe now is weak, although they are firmly documented in the Altai Mountains (southwest Siberia). Among members of the human family, only anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) sucessfully colonized all of northern Eurasia (during a period when climates were cooler than those of today). The key environmental variables were probably: a.) low winter temperatures, and b.) low biological productivity. Modern humans solved the problems posed by these variables with technological computations of unprecedented complexity in the animal kingdom, which included finite-state machines or automata.


Free and open to the public.