The Last Ice AgeDHM

The Last Ice Age
Deutches Historiches Museum


Ice Age

An "Ice Age" is defeined by britannica as:
"Ice age, also called glacial age, any geologic period during which thick ice sheets cover vast areas of land. Such periods of large-scale glaciation may last several million years and drastically reshape surface features of entire continents. A number of major ice ages have occurred throughout Earth history. The earliest known took place during Precambrian time dating back more than 570 million years. The most recent periods of widespread glaciation occurred during the Pleistocene Epoch (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago)." [1]

Pleistocene Epoch

The "Pleistocene Epoch" is defeined by britannica as:
"Pleistocene Epoch, earlier and major of the two epochs that constitute the Quaternary Period of the Earth’s history, and the time period during which a succession of glacial and interglacial climatic cycles occurred. The base of the Gelasian Stage (2,588,000 to 1,800,000 years ago) marks the beginning of Pleistocene, which is also the base of the Quarternary Period. It is coincident with the bottom of a marly layer resting atop a sapropel called MPRS 250 on the southern slopes of Monte San Nicola in Sicily, Italy, and is associated with the Gauss-Matuyama geomagnetic reversal. The Pleistocene ended 11,700 years ago. It is preceded by the Pliocene Epoch of the Neogene Period and is followed by the Holocene Epoch." [2]


Eon Era Period Epoch Age Age [MA-MA]
Phanerozoic Cenozoic Quaternary Holocene Chronozone 0 0.0117
Pleistocene Late Pleistocene 0.0117 0.126
Middle Pleistocene 0.126 0.781
Calabrian 0.781 1.80
Gelasian 1.80 2.58

When referring to "The Last Ice Age", we`re usually referring to the Pleistocene Epoch which lasted from 2 588 000 - 11 700 years ago. The Pleistocene Epoch encompasses the recent period of repeated glaciations. The Pleistocene ends at the same time as the "Last Glacial Period" and "Paleolithic Age".

SuperEon → n/a
Eon → Phanerozoic
Era → Mesozoic
Period → Cenozoic
Epoch→ Pleistocene

The Pleistocene Epoch is divided into 4 ages being:

Late Pleistocene (May differ depending on region)
Middle Pleistocene (Ionian)

A noteworthy fact is that this ice age is still going on as we still have ice on our polar caps. Due to the fact that we`re currently in a warmer period, we don't notice it, but theoretically, we should start a colder period around this time.


The max. glaical extent (i.e. the peak area of the ice) of the pleistocene epoch covered about 1/3 of the earths landmass and large portions of sea surronding the north pole. Most continents had some sort of ice, especially north america, north eurasia and obiusly the poles. Across the globe areas with higher elevations most definitly had ice coverage.[3]

Mega Fauna

Irish Elk

Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Artiodactyla
Family Cervidae
Subfamily Cervinae
Genus †Megaloceros
Species †M. giganteus

The Irish Elk or Giant Deer, was similiar in height and appearance to the modern Alasken Elk. Due to the name some think that its mainly found in Ireland, but it was found across eurasia, records even show it in China. It is not an elk but infact a deer, one of the largest ever.[4]

Woolly Mammoth

Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Proboscidea
Family Elephantidae
Genus †Mammuthus
Species †M. primigenius

Woolly Mammoths were similiar to African Elefants,in size and structure, though they adapted to live in the cold.They had a relativly large fur coats and shorter ears, Two lage curved tusks. They were also herbavours and lived alongside early. It became exinct about 10,000 years ago, though isolated groups on islands survived till about 4,000 years ago.[5]

Cave Lion

Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Suborder Feliformia
Family Felidae
Genus Panthera
Species P. leo
Subspecies P. l. spelaea

Cave Lions are thought to have been larger than modern lions, though still be similiar. They were carnivours that might have hunted in groups. Humans at the time drew cave paintigs of them. Though the name "Cave Lion" impleis that they lved in caves, they actualy prefered forest and grasslands, as they found most prey there. The name comes from the fact that many remains were found in caves.[6]

Woolly Rhinoceros

Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Perissodactyla
Family Rhinocerotidae
Genus †Coelodonta
Species †C. antiquitatis

The Woolly Rhinoceros was similiar to modern white Rhinoceros, though having evolved to suit its Enviroment. It had thick woolly coat, short limbs, two horns on its head. It lived among humans, as seen by cave paintings, as well as other large woolly cretures.[7]







Erosional Landforms

When glaicars were once present in an area you can typicly find some signs, like terminal morains, glaical eradics, water deposits, etc. Another feature is erosional landforms, which only occur if a glaicar, over a long period of time, has moved through an area. This crates: hanging valley, lakes, waterfalls, cliffs, etc. All of these are found in areas where glaicars dont exist anymore, and haven`t for a long time. This indicates that during a colder climate glaicars existed there.

Isotope Ratios

The ratio between the isotopes(diffrent forms of an atom. Though chemicly identical, the number neutrons differs and therefore its weight.) of oxygen "O16" and "O18 in place^s like glaicars, melt water and other oxygen depoists, can very accuratly determine the temprature at the time it was deposited. This is due to evaporation rates between the two"[8]