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The Pleistocene is the most recent advance of the ice age before our current Holocene period.  It is the prevailing opinion of science today that the Pleistocene marks the final end of the ice age and it is widely regarded as unlikely that we will be having an ice age any time soon, especially in light of global warming.

The Terracycle theory states that global warming is the last stage of the Terracycle before the sudden advance of the new ice age.

Much can be learned about our current situation by studying the similarities and differences between life in the most recent Terracycle and life in the current Terracycle.  

A popular theory of why certain Pleistocene animals went extinct is that humans hunted them into extinction.  If this were the case, then there must have been a rather large human population.  There is no evidence that humans lived in large enough numbers to be responsible for the extinctions of not only large animals in the Northern Hemisphere, but in the Southern Hemisphere as well.  For what reason would humans kill every Mastodon, Woolly Mammoth, Sabertoothed Tiger, Big Horned Sheep, Bison, Ground Sloth, and several other large species of animals?  The humans of 10,000 to 15,000 years ago must have been extremely violent as a species, worldwide for this to occur.  

A second theory of why large animals went extinct 10,000 years ago is that the climate changed and the animals couldn't adapt.  Although this is undoubtedly what happened, the prevailing opinion is that this changed occurred over a long period of time, perhaps several hundred to several thousand years.

In this second theory it is assumed the large animals migrated north because the lower latitudes were becoming too warm.  There is no evidence that any of these large animals died due to drought or heat.  Although it is true Woolly Mammoths migrated to the northern latitudes, they did so because of the abundance of vegetation.  If the ice age retreated 10,000 years ago as it is hypothesized, then why isn't there still dense foliage in the northern latitudes today?  The Woolly Mammoths were found frozen solid with fresh vegetation in their mouths and stomachs at the time of their death.  They weren't found frozen in ice caves, they were found frozen in MUD!  The surrounding trees were snapped and twisted.  What kind of environment can provide mud, broken trees, dense vegetation and still freeze a 10 ton animal quickly enough that the flesh will be good enough to eat when it is thawed out 10,000 years later?

There was definitely a climatic change that brought about the end of many large species of animals, but it wasn't gradual.  It happened literally overnight.  

Below are links to several sites with information on the Pleistocene.


Raising the Mammoth - Discovery Channel
Great Mammoth Discoveries - Discovery Channel
Ice Age Animals of Utah - Utah Geological Survey
The Mammoth and other megatherms hunted by the early Amerindians. - Hutchison Research Center
Pleistocene Animals of the Midwestern U.S. - ISM
Of Mastodons, Mammoths and Other Giants of the Pleistocene


Ice age Mammals and their Extinction
Late Pleistocene Extinctions - Kim Coover

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