Analyses of human evolution are fundamental to understand the current gradients of human diversity. In this
concern, genetic samples collected from current populations together with archaeological data are the most important resources
to study human evolution. However, they are often insufficient to properly evaluate a variety of evolutionary scenarios,
leading to continuous debates and discussions. A commonly applied strategy consists of the use of computer simulations
based on, as realistic as possible, evolutionary models, to evaluate alternative evolutionary scenarios through statistical
correlations with the real data. Computer simulations can also be applied to estimate evolutionary parameters or to
study the role of each parameter on the evolutionary process. Here we review the mainly used methods and evolutionary
frameworks to perform realistic spatially explicit computer simulations of human evolution. Although we focus on human
evolution, most of the methods and software we describe can also be used to study other species. We also describe the importance
of considering spatially explicit models to better mimic human evolutionary scenarios based on a variety of phenomena
such as range expansions, range shifts, range contractions, sex-biased dispersal, long-distance dispersal or admixtures
of populations. We finally discuss future implementations to improve current spatially explicit simulations and their
derived applications in human evolution.
Demographic models, Human evolution, Human landscape genetics, Molecular evolution, Range expansion, Spatially
Centre for Molecular Biology "Severo Ochoa", Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Madrid, Spain.