Climate changes during the Paleolithic

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Northern icesheet hg

During Paleolithic ice ages dramatically changed climate and conditions of life of our ancestors. Major ice ages were:

  • Günz Ice Age happened a million years ago and ended 750,000 years ago. In Europe the ice mass reached the river Günz, hence its name.
  • Mindel Ice Age 600,000 years ago and ended 400,000 years ago. It was the most extensive ice age.
  • Riss Ice Age, 200,000 years 140,000 years ago.
  • Würm Ice Age, which occurred between about 65,000 BC to 10,000 BC. This is the last ige age, the best known and the one that most affected the life of modern man. Sea level during this glaciation was far below the current. This allowed for example that could be crossed on foot between Asia and America by the Bering Strait and many territories habited by man during this period are under water today. The end of the Ice Age involved not only the isolation of the American continent, but also for example in Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, Indonesia, Japan and Antarctica.

Between each ice age interglacial periods were temperate and climate were similar to that we have today.

The change in climate was a challenge for the human species who had to adapt to changes in temperature, flora and fauna. The resources available were modified and mankind had to be adapted with migrations, by modifying their behaviour, either by adapting and evolving its own physical characteristics to the new environment.

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