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This article talks about the history of the Earth's ice age periods and important related info, for a detailed explanation about the Ice Age film series story, see Ice Age (series).

History

Stone Age

The Stone Age is the period in Prehistory during which humans created stone tools due to the lack of technology. Wood, bones and other materials were also used, but stone (specially chert, quartz, obsidian...) was used to produce tools and weapons.

Generally, it is believed that this period started in Africa about 2,5 million years ago, with the appearance of the first human tool. This period was followed by the Iron Age and Bronce Age, during which, tools from those materials became common, this transition was from about 6000 BC to 2500 BC.

Traditionally this Age is divided in Paleolithic, and Neolithic, where a revolution begins towards a productive economic system: agriculture and animal husbandry.

Neolithic

The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was one of the periods in which the Stone Age was divided, the term Neolithic was used by John Lubbock in his 1865 book, Prehistoric Times.

The name comes from greek νέος, néos: ‘new’; λίθος, líthos: ‘stone’. The name was initially given because of the findings of published stone-made tools that seemed to have helped in agriculture's development and expansion. Nowadays Neolithic is defined as the expansion of knowledge and use of agriculture and animal husbandry.

The Great Ice Age

An ice age period refers to the cooling of the earth, resulting in the creation of ice sheets in diverse parts of the world, studies by experts have estimated there have been at least from 4 to 11 ice age periods in Earth's lifetime, being the last one around 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. This last one period is usually called the Great Ice Age, time were the Ice Age films take place.

Recent Ice Ages

Little Ice Age

The Little Ice Age was a cold era that lasted from beginnings of the XIV century (1300s) to mid XIX century (1800s). It ended an warm era known as Medieval Warm Period. The term was introduced by François E. Matthes in 1939. It had three peaks: 1650, 1770 and 1850.

The "Year without a Summer"

The Year Without a Summer (also known as the Poverty Year, Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death, and the Year There Was No Summer) was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities destroyed crops in Northern Europe, the Northeastern United States and eastern Canada.

Most consider the climate anomaly to have been caused by a combination of a historic low in solar activity and a volcanic winter event; the latter caused by a succession of major volcanic eruptions capped off by the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815, the largest known eruption in over 1,600 years.

Theories

The Toba catastrophe

Proposed in 1998 by Stanley H. Ambrose, the toba catastrophe theory holds up that from 70,000 to 75,000 years ago a volcanic eruption, probably the most powerful on the last 25 million years in Earth's history, occurred on Lake Toba, on Sumatra.

The eruption was supposedly so powerful that it nearly exterminated human life in Earth, reducing its population to around 2,000 or 10,000 individuals. The released energy is estimated on 1 gigaton of TNT and created one hundred million metric tons of sulfuric acid that provoked acid rain fallout.

Genetic evidence suggests that all humans alive today, despite apparent variety, are descended from a very small population, perhaps between 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs about 70,000 years ago.

The Global Cooling

The Global Cooling was a theory introduced in the 1970s, stating that, just like the Little Ice Age period, Earth's temperature will go down after effects from Global warming.

See also

Trivia

  • Apparently, the third movie promotional trailers "change" the time the films take place by calling it being "2 million years ago" however, this is historically incorrect since Neanderthals appeared about 200,000 years ago [1], but it is correct to say it happened in an Ice Age period since the Great Ice Age was from 2 million B.C. to 20,000 or 10,000 years ago.

References

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