Quaternary Period- the period of humans
Started about 1.8 million years ago the Quaternary Period is the recent phase of the Cenozoic era. It includes 2 major epochs - the Pleistocene epoch and the Holocene epoch which had major contributions in shaping the fauna, flora, and other geological factors of the period and finally of the Cenozoic era. Do you know that this period is still in continuation and we are living in this period?
The Pleistocene epoch is lasted from 1.8 million years to 11,000 years ago and the Holocene epoch started 11,000 years ago and is still running. Each epoch has some typical features including their geography and climate and the animals and plants of each epoch were unique to their respective time.
Quaternary Period: Mammals and Humans
In the early part of the Quaternary Period large mammals appeared in abundance. Wooly rhinoceros and wooly mammoth were dominant. Also, there were deer, ground sloths, bison, saber tooth tiger, dire wolf, cave bear, hippopotamus, and elephants. However, the major development of the Quaternary Period is of the Hominids or the humans. From the primitive man we finally evolved into the modern day man.
Quaternary Period: Geology
It is in this Quaternary Period that continents take their present shapes. There was little or no change in the positions of the continents. However, climate has undergone a change from the early Quaternary Period to the modern day.
Beginning of the Pleistocene epoch: This epoch begins with the sheets of polar ice and these sheets are really bigger than the modern day sheets. Even, it has been researched that the glacial ice reached at the lowest parts of the continents - Asia, Europe, and North America.
How was the climate at the Quaternary Period?
Earth was cooler at this time. However, there were fluctuations of temperatures with the advance and retreat of the polar ice. Hence the earth too faces warm and cold climate. According to the scientists’ catalogues there were more than 60 cycles of glacial contraction and expansion at the time of the Quaternary Period.
Is the Ice Age still running?
Though it is really surprising to hear that we are still living in the ice age but it is a fact as per the scientists. They are in opinion that though there are advances and retreats of polar ice but the process is not random. Changes in the orbit of the Earth are responsible for these variations. These cycles of advances and retreats of polar ice are called as Milankovitch cycles and the last major advance of the glacial ice took place before 18,000 years ago. As per some scientists the present day world is still in the ice age and the present warming is nothing but a temporary retreat of the polar ice.
Decrease in the Sea Level due glacier