Climate changes during the Paleolithic

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Northern icesheet hg

During Paleolithic several glaciations that dramatically changed the climate and conditions of life of our ancestors followed. Major ice ages were:

  • Freezing Günz happened a million years ago and ended 750,000 years ago. In Europe the ice mass Günz reached the river, hence its name.
  • Mindel Ice Age 600,000 years ago and ended 400,000 years ago. It was the most extensive glaciation.
  • Riss glaciation, 200,000 years 140,000 years ago.
  • Würm glaciation, which occurred between about 65,000 BC to 10,000 BC. This is the last glaciation, the best known and the 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 inhabited by man during this period today are under water. 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 there were far more benign and temperate climate similar to that we enjoy today.

The change in climate was a challenge for the human species had to adapt to changes in temperature, flora and fauna. The resources available were modified and humanity had to adapt well with migration, by modifying their behavior, either by adapting and evolving its own physical characteristics to the new environment.

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