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    Resources: 100,000 Year Time Scale

Links

View a geospatial animation of Postglacial Flooding of the Bering Land Bridge (Manley, 2002)

Around 21,000 years ago during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the Bering Land Bridge existed as a vast tundra plain connecting Asia and North America. Global sea level was approximately 120 m (400 ft.) lower than today. As climate warmed and the world's glaciers and ice sheets melted, flooding the land bridge.

Check out the Beringian Paleoenvironmental Atlas that focuses on northwestern North America and northeastern Asia during the most recent Ice Age. Resources include an Image Gallery with animations of sea level rise and the flooding of the Bering Land Bridge.

Journey of Human Evolution - Did huge eruption of Mount Tomba in the middle of the Indonesia island of Sumatra cause a volcanic winter 71,000 years ago create a bottleneck in human evolution?

A quick background to the last ice age from the Oak Ridge National Lab.

Another online resource that focuses on archeology and anthropology relating to the past +100,000 years is the Hooper Virtual Natural History Museum which provides information on:

  • The NOAA Paleoclimatology Program offers an online slideset about the Ice Ages that traces the scientific investigation of the ice ages, from the discovery of glacial erratics and moraines by early geologists in the 1800s, to the initial theories of orbital variations in solar radiation, to recent investigations of the glacial-interglacial cycles based on evidence found in ice cores and deep sea sediments.

    Also see the Cape Field School for more on the excavations at Blombos Cave discussed in Climate History 100,000 Years. Additional cave art photos from the French government's Great Archeological Site.

Inquiry

Did Humans Evolve as Aquatic Apes?
Image of early Homo sapiens fishing

The Aquatic Ape theory, first suggested in the 1920s by Sir Alister Hardy, popularized by Desmond Morris (1967) in the book The Naked Ape, and more recently updated by anthropologist Elaine Morgan (1999), suggests that early humans evolved in and around water, with fish being an important part of their diet.

Recently Michael Crawford (1999) and other researchers have found that fish oil may be the key for why the human brain grew larger than other primates. The theory is controversial, being at odds with the generally accepted theory that early humans developed on the dry savannahs of Africa. Not all experts on human evolution convinced that the Aquatic Ape hypothesis holds water, but the fossil record is lacking to provide compelling proof for or against the idea.

For more, visit the Aquatic Ape website: The Role of Water in Human Evolution: A Look at Some New Ideas About Our Ancestors by Catherine Friedl from the Hooper Natural History Museum.

Image above from the Hooper Natural History Museum.


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Last Updated Wednesday, 20-Aug-2008 11:22:39 EDT by paleo@noaa.gov
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