Columbian mammoths stayed in North American throughout the ice age. Illustration by Peter Schouten indigenous The end of Megafauna, by Ross MacPhee.
In the ice cream age, megafauna roamed phibìc America: mammoths, saber-toothed cats, also giant land sloths! What taken place to them? In this illustration we answer questions around the ice age: What to be it? Did birds live throughout that time period? How about giraffes? Did people live v woolly mammoths? Why walk mammoths walk extinct? We"ll price your concerns with Ross MacPhee, an elderly curator in ~ the American Museum of Natural history and writer of finish of Megafauna: The Fate of the World"s Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals.

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And we"ll hear indigenous Nathaniel Kitchel, a Dartmouth researcher who used carbon date to uncover the age of a mammoth rib. Plus, john Moody, of the Winter center for indigenous Traditions in Norwich, Vermont, on how mammoths show up in the oral history of the Abenaki people.


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"What to be the ice age?" -Karen, 5, Wilmington, Delaware

In the Pleistocene era, i m sorry lasted native 120,000 years back to 15,000 year ago, ice spanned the see in much of the north hemisphere. Ice covered every one of Canada down into the north United states and all of northern Europe. And there were smaller ice sheets in Russia. Just how did this happen? scientists think it was a buildup of ice cream over time.

"The theory is that the winter never ever ended," defined Ross MacPhee. "You would have actually snowfalls in the winter and also it never really gained warm sufficient to remove it completely. The following year that would be developed on, developed on and built on. And the thing about snow is the it sort of provides its very own weather. If you have actually snow the gets very cold! and also that preservation the snow fill for a really long time."


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Credit Peter Schouten
Saber tooth cats

The weight of the snow would compact right into ice, eventually covering components of the people in an excellent sheets of ice. The might aid to think that the process as a little bit like what happens once you have actually a favourite sledding hill: the snow is light and also fluffy when you start, however if you sled under it sufficient times (and walk increase the hill, too), eventually the paths acquire icy native the footsteps and sleds continually packing the eye down.

It wasn"t just ice sheets the were a function of the ice age. All of that water recorded up in the ice made sea level drop 300 feet lower than it is now. That exposed many land the is now covered in water, including a land bridge connecting Alaska and Russia!

This floor bridge allowed a variety of species to move right into North America from Asia, favor bison. And also some north American pets went into Asia, prefer camels and also horses! Bear species traveled in both directions. Humans additionally used the land bridge to migrate right into North America, though researchers think some beforehand humans more than likely used boats too.

Mammoths additionally migrated over the land bridge! They originated in Asia and came right into North America. But there to be other types of megafauna that roam the landscape as well, like giant condors, saber toothed cats and also even gigantic sloths.

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These species went extinct at the same time together mammoths, together the ice age was ending. Listen to the illustration to learn more about the theory of why therefore many large animals walk extinct about the exact same time.