1. The Origin of Life
  2. Earth's Earliest Life
  3. Sex and Nuclei: Eukaryotes
  4. The Evolution of Animals
  5. Life in a Changing World
  6. Extinction
  7. The Early Vertebrates
  8. Leaving the Water
  9. Amphibians and Reptiles
  10. Reptiles and Thermoregulation
  11. Triassic Takeover
  12. Dinosaurs
  13. Warm-Blooded Dinosaurs?
  14. The Evolution of Flight
  15. The Origin of Mammals
  16. Marine Reptiles
  17. Why Flowers are Beautiful
  18. The End of the Dinosaurs
  19. Cenozoic Mammals
  20. Geography and Evolution
  21. Primates
  22. Evolving Toward Humans
  23. The Ice Age
  24. Humans and the Ice Age
Many outside links! Bookmark homepage.

The Pleistocene Ice Age

Climate and Geography During the Ice Ages

Ice Sheet Maximum and Ice Sheet Melting

There were bizarre consequences of ice-sheet melting, more than one of which may have altered human history: here is one recently discovered example:

The Black Sea Flood

Ice Age Vertebrates

A picture gallery from UCLA.

The Overkill Hypothesis (and others)

The Americas

The La Brea Tarpits

Mastodons in the East


South America

Human Arrival in the Americas

New thinking in this area suggests that fisherfolk spread along the west coast of the Americas before Clovis people occupied the inner continent. The fisherfolk had little or no effect on the continental ecosystem (though I suspect that future research will show that they affected coastal ecology dramatically).

Evidence from linguistics:

The Monte Verde site, in Chile

New evidence of pre-Clovis people at Cactus Hill, Virginia:

Kennewick Man. On a separate page.

Australians as the first Americans?!?
Luzia, from Brazil, an early American who looks uncannily like someone from Australasia or Polynesia. Story from the New York Times, October 26, 1999. This is not a new claim (that was earlier in 1999), but this is the most comprehensive summary so far. There is no scientific paper yet. Luzia is named half-humorously after Lucy, the australopithecine who has been so important in redefining our concepts of the earliest hominids.

Europeans as the first Americans?
Here is a news story from November 1999. Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian and a colleague are suggesting that the first humans reached North America across the Atlantic from Western Europe. This doesn't fit with genetic information; the timing is wrong; and I have to say that Dr. Stanford has previously suggested rather off-the-wall theories. At the very least, this one is controversial, and will need a great deal more evidence before it becomes plausible.

Native Americans as ecological stewards of the land?
You have probably got the message from my chapter that this is a self-serving though politically astute myth. See this 1999 book review in the New York Times of The Ecological Indian, by Shepard Krech, and the first chapter of the book, which describes the North American extinctions. Here also is a short essay by Professor Krech in New Scientist, October 1999.

Meanwhile, Native Americans skewed the biology of seals and sealions along the California coast. News item from Davis, California, 1997.

Large North American Animals

Megaherbivores and Medium-Sized Animals

Daniel Janzen of the University of Pennsylvania has suggested that these fruits coevolved with large elephants (gomphotheres), which became extinct with the other large American mammals. I'll let Wayne have a word on the fruits and seeds involved. Meanwhile, Carlos Yamashita has suggested that macaws were involved too.


So who killed off the buffalo?. It's not as simple as you thought.


Island Extinctions


Experienced Faunas

Northern Eurasia

Talk in 1997 by A. J. Stuart on European extinctions.

Pleistocene Mammals in Russia, at the Russian Paleontological Institution

The most important local extinctions in the Old World took place in habitats that modern humans were invading in strength for the first time. The large mammals were hunted out of the optimum part of their range, and then the last survivors hung on in the inhospitable (usually northern) parts of their range until newly invading humans or climatic fluctuations killed them off. For example, woolly mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, and giant deer , along with horses, elk, and reindeer, reinvaded Britain from Europe after the ice sheets began to retreat and birch woodland and parkland spread northward. Mammoths flourished in Britain until 12,800 BP at least, but then human artifacts appeared at 12,000 BP, and the largest animals of the tundra fauna quickly disappeared. The giant deer called the Irish elk survived on the island of Ireland after the main extinctions on the European mainland.

Can we clone a mammoth?

An expedition has been financed by the Discovery Channel to recover a frozen mammoth from Siberia.

  • How do you keep mammoth meat fresh? Dump it in the lake. News item on the work of Dan Fisher, from the University of Michigan. From Discovering Archaeology, March 9, 2000.
  • How do you butcher a mammoth? Try an elephant first. . From Discovering Archaeology, 2000.

  • For reconstructions of a mammoth-bone dwelling on the plains of Eastern Europe, see these two pages:

Bring back the elephants

to North America A suggestion by Paul Martin and David Burney. From Whole Earth magazine, 2000.

New Thoughts on Mammoth-Hunter Society

And now for something completely different: a fascinating new take on "mammoth hunters" from a female point of view. This is a must read! Anyone interested in gender studies will love it. What's more, it sounds right!

And what about those "Venus figurines"? Were they sex objects made for the titillation of Gravettian males? A newer and well-argued suggestion is that they were charms used by pregnant women as magic to ward off difficult childbirth.

And if you liked these last few items, you will LOVE this one! From the New York Times, December 14, 1999.

Ice Age fashions, and the origin of weaving.
Olga Soffer has a fantastic publicity machine. Here are three stories, and the research hasn't been published yet. (This comment is admiration, not criticism, because her story is really neat, and probably very important.)

Soffer argues that evidence of woven textiles revises our view of Cromagnons and their contemporaries in Eastern Europe. And she's probably right: for example, is this the long-sought secret weapon of CroMagnons in competition with Neanderthals?

My wife says that weaving doesn't mean looms, as the newest story suggests, but that's a minor point. Kids begin weaving without looms, and graduate to them.

Here are two profiles of the eclectic Olga Soffer: from Scientific American and from Discovering Archaeology. Don't you wish you could take one of her courses?

The World Today

The New World syndrome of diseases
Diabetes among the Pima Indians.
The view from the Pima: The view from the National Institutes of Health:

The Polynesians
Jared Diamond's vivid account of the end of the advanced Polynesian civilization on Easter Island. Required reading!! It is also archived here

HISTORY OF LIFE: By Richard Cowen

RaceandHistory.com Trinicenter.com AmonHotep.com Pantrinbago TriniView.com


Education 2001 - HowComYouCom.com