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Summary of 100,000 Years
Over a period of 100,000 years,
a great deal can occur in terms of climate change and, at least in the past 100,000 years, in human development.

As we examine in Climate Science, scientists have become increasingly aware of multi-millennial scale orbital cycles of
precession, eccentricity and obliquity which can play an important role in the rise and fall of ice ages. In in Climate History we explore how during the past 100,000 years ago, human beings-- Homo sapiens - have developed from our hominid ancestors, adapting to rugged climates, such as in Europe 40,000 years ago. And in Resources, various links and inquiry ideas are offered for you to dig deeper into these topics.

The Past 100,000 Years
Years Before Present (B.P.)

Note: The Last Ice Age cycle lasted from roughly 60,000 to 20,000 years before present, with Ice Age cycles occurring since 2.6 Million years ago to the present.
Ice Age Timeline

Human population has been estimated to have been around five million people 10,000 years ago. Recent studies from the Center for Genome Research and others such as Ambrose suggest a small group of perhaps 10,000 people could have left Africa between 50-100,000 years ago and populated the entire planet.
10,000 BP
Image of Woolly MammoothBeginning of Holocene. Large mammals including saber-toothed cats, mammoths, and mastodons become extinct. Neolithic period with beginning of agriculture and end of Ice Ages.

An estimated 5 million Homo sapiens inhabit planet Earth.
Image of Woolly Mammoth from Tulane University Museum of Natural History
20,000 BP
Abrupt cooling about 15,000 years ago gives way to abrupt warming at the end of the Younger Dryas period some 11,600 years ago, with a climatic ripple effect impacting habitats around the world.

Gray wolves in East Asia
become domesticated about 15,000 years ago, with all modern dogs evolving from them. (Savolainen, Leonard, 2002).

20,000 years ago, global mean temperature 4 degrees C cooler than today, although the North Atlantic was 14 degrees C cooler. Lower sea level allows large-scale migrations of people into the Americas.
30,000 BP
Homo sapiens thrive in cold European climate. Homo neanderthalensis become extinct, with last fossil evidence dated 28,000 years ago in Portugal.
40,000 BP
Image of cave paintingsPlethora of stone and bone tools along with cave paintings and other artwork in Europe. Homo sapiens use bone, ivory, antlers, and shells to make tools while Neandertals only use stone to make tools. (Niewohner, 2003)

Image of early European Art Rock.
50,000 BP
Cave dwellers leave evidence of seeds of wild dates and nuts including chestnuts, walnuts, pine nuts, and acorns in Shanidar Cave of Northern Iraq.
Many large megafauna in Australia including large kangaroos, wombats and emu-like ducks, become extinct, possibly due to human hunting and use of fire. (Miller, 1999)
60,000 BP
Homo sapiens enter Australia and begin to use fire, altering the existing flora and fauna. (Pyne, 1991 )
During warming period (55-45K BP) mammoths roam central Sweden.

70,000 BP

Image of bone tools from South AfricaRecent discoveries in caves along South African coast dating to 70,000 years before present suggest people using bone tools and living on fish and mammals in the region. (Henshilwood, 2002 )
Major eruption of Mount Toba 73,000 years ago in modern day Sumatra impacts global climate system. (Rampino, 2000).

Image of artifacts by Chris Henshilwood

80,000 BP
90,000 BP
100,000 BP
Diet of Homo sapiens includes fish and seafoods as last Ice Age impacts Northern Hemisphere. Some scientists theorize that fish oil was key to the growth of the brain of Homo sapiens Evidence suggests that no other hominids such as Neanderthals ate fish. (See Broadhurst, 2001) Neandertals well established in Europe since at least 300,000 years before present.

Also see: What is Variability? and Overview of Climate Processes.

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