HUMANPAST.NET

Environment                  8,000 BC
Africa
Southwest Asia
Egypt
Indus Valley
China
Europe
South America
Mesoamerica
North America
Other

In General

 And let's not forget that the earth by this time - 8000 years ago - has already suffered the consequences of 7000 years of intense volcanism, 7000 years of rising sea-levels and sudden and unpredictable marine floods, 7000 years of continental shelves, land-bridges and islands vanishing beneath the waves, and 7000 years of spectacular climatic instability. Indeed, the palaeo-climatological record testifies to all of the following - and much more - between 15,000 and 8,000 years ago: cold oceans, high winds, mountains of dust in the atmosphere and wildly unpredictable temperature shifts. (124)

During the same 10,000-year epoch in which the ice melted and global sea-level rose by 120 metres - roughly from 17,000 down to 7000 years ago - our planet also experienced dramatically increased volcanism, dramatically increased frequency and magnitude of earthquakes, and a dramatically unstable climate that seesawed rapidly and unpredictably between extremes. (124)

                                                                                                         MOST RECENT DATE
COMMON NAME                              GENUS                                   BEFORE PRESENT

CHEETAH                                           Acinonyx                                           17,000
PECCARY                                           Platygonus                                         13,000
SHORT-FACED BEAR                       Arctodus                                            12,600
PRONGHORN                                    Stockoceros                                       11,300
WOODLAND MUSK OX                  Symbos                                               11,100
MAMMOTH                                       Mammuthus                                         10,500
MASTODON                                      Mammut                                              10,400
LION                                                   Panthera                                              10,400
HORSE                                                Equus                                                  10,400
CAMEL                                               Camelops                                            10,300
STAG-MOOSE                                   Cervalces                                             10,200
GIANT BEAVER                                 Castoroides                                          10,200
GIANT GROUND SLOTH                  Glossotherium                                        9,800
SABERTOOTH                                    Smilodon                                               9,400
TAPIR                                                   Tapirus                                                  9,400
                                 

In this list, as in more complete ones, the apparent extinction dates cluster between 11,000 and 9,500 years ago. This was the time that the climate, local weather, and ecosystems of North America were undergoing a spectacularly rapid upheaval. It is also the time when other creatures that could also be called charismatic megafauna thrived - the hunters of the Clovis culture and the ensuing Folsom culture. (130)

One of the great unknowns of any analysis of human social development during the warm conditions after the Younger Dryas is just how much evidence has been swept away by the rise in sea levels. If, as seems likely, some of the most stable and best-fed communities would have quickly developed close to seashores, any evidence of their existence will have long gone. The simple fact of the matter is that this rise in sea levels drowned or washed away evidence of nearly all earlier coastal adaptation everywhere around the world. (145)

Edith and Alexander Tollmann, a husband-and-wife team of geologists based at the Institute of Geology at Vienna University, Austria... have compiled some very significant information which they believe demonstrates that the Earth was indeed hit by a comet in the Holocene Period, around 10,000 years ago. ... the Tollmanns actually quoted the legend of Enoch regarding the seven stars that appeared as great burning mountains descending towards Earth. These they interpreted as seven cometary fragments. They looked first at the distribution of small glassy objects called tektites, which are found scattered in S-shaped patterns over large parts of the earth's surface. These smooth stones are chemically similar to some types of commonly occurring igneous rock, but they have always posed a puzzle to geologists because they appear in sites where the bedrock is not the same as the tektite composition. The other characteristic of tektites is their irregular but rounded shapes, which suggests that they have been formed by molten rock being ejected into the atmosphere and then freezing into flattened and rounded spheres. It has recently been generally recognized that they are remnants of high energy cometary impacts on the Earth, and many are very old. (160)

In 1970, tektites were found embedded in fossilized wood in Australia which was carbon dated and found to have an age of 9,520 plus or minus 200 years BP. The Tollmanns also noted that the tektite scatter over Vietnam had been dated using stratigraphic methods to about the same age. This dating had been confirmed when tektites were found in seabed cores taken from sediment layers in the Indian Ocean known to be approximately 10,000 years old. The Tollmanns had argued that evidence from the archaeological record which shows that over 10,000 species became extinct at the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary, which is generally dated to circa 10,000 years ago, dated the worldwide Flood to 7640 BC. (160)

In recent years archaeologists have developed a way of studying ancient climates, called palynology, which is the study of pollen trapped in sediment layers. This new science has established that from just after the 7640 BC impact until about 3000 BC, the Earth went through a very warm phase, where the sea temperature increased by a staggering 4.5 degrees centigrade compared with the average level before the impact. This warming of the oceans of the world must have increased the speed of ice melting at the end of the last Ice Age and created the world we enjoy today. The ice melting produced an increase in sea water and average sea levels rose by between 90-120 metres. This warm climate continued for thousands of years until it slowly returned to normal about 2200 BC. In North Wales, beds of sand and gravel with geologically recent sea shells can be found on mountains such as Moel Tryfan which is over 400 metres above sea level, showing that North Wales was briefly covered by sea water at a point in the recent past. (160)

In order to date a magnetically orientated substrate a calibration chart showing variations in the direction of the Earth's magnetic field has been created from the available data. The calibration graph generally shows the very smooth wobble which is to be expected from the precession of the magnetic generator. However, in the last 10,000 years there have been two exceptions when the direction of the magnetic field has changed abruptly and in a manner which suggests an outside impulse. There is a clear perturbation at around 3150 BC, which probably means a cometary impact, but there is a significantly larger one around 7000 BC. Knowing that the system is highly damped with a time-constant of over 1,000 years suggests that there must have been a very large current pulse affecting the system between 7000 and 8000 BC. (160)

Modern scientific investigations show that the Earth has been hit many times by objects such a comets and meteorites. Large impacts have a considerable effect on the environment and cause long-term changes in both climate and geography. Laboratory work on the effects of impacts shows that tidal waves of more than five kilometres high and travelling at up to 640 kph can be caused. Waves of this size would over run much of the Earth's land area. The debris forced into upper atmosphere by the impact would cause a short-term nuclear winter and a longer term global warming effect. It would also leave traces of nitric acid, magnetic fingerprints, tektite trails and radiocarbon blips which could be used to date the event. This type of evidence shows that there have been two large impacts in the last 10,000 years: a seven-fold impact into all the world's major oceans around 7640 BC, and a single impact into the Mediterranean a bout 3150 BC. (160)

Africa

Rock art dating to 5000 BC corroborates what the radar equipment revealed. In Libya, Egypt, and Mali, petroglyphs depict not only grazing animals, but also aquatic life such as crocodiles. This indicates that the desert was inhabited during a time prior to 4000 BC and as far back as 8000 BC, when the climate was wet. (70)

The increased moistness fits in with a general pattern extending all the way across the subtropics to northern Africa, reflecting greater summer monsoon rainfall at that time. (145)

The climatic record is, however, unequivocal: for most of the time between around 14 kya and 5 kya the Sahara experienced a monsoonal climate. The region had considerably greater rainfall than now and much of the land had permanent vegetation. (145)

Southwest Asia

 Between 13,000 BC and 4000 BC sea levels rose significantly as ice sheets melted. Meteorologists suggest that there was increased rainfall in the Near East in this era and botanists point to increased plant life. (68)

By 8 kya, the south Asian region in general seems to have been strikingly moister and slightly warmer than at present. (145)

A protected valley ... a great river ... lakes ... fertile soils ... bountiful rainfall ... The palaeo-climatological literature left me with the distinct impression that the Gulf around 10,000 or 12,000 years ago could have been a very unusual place ... indeed a secret garden blessed with an ideal climate, offering nearly optimum conditions for the emergence of a civilization. (124)

As the sea-level rises the Gulf continues to expand and the marine influence spreads into the northern region. By about 10,000 BP the north-east margin of the Gulf has approached its present position in several localities, particularly east of about 52 degrees longitude. Much of the southern part of the Gulf remains exposed until about 8000 BP and areas such as the Great Pearl Bank are not submerged until shortly after this time. (124)

The steadily rising sea levels might have had a more profound effect on coastal communities where large areas were inundated in fits and starts. For example, this could have happened in the Persian Gulf. This enclosed sea goes no deeper than 100 m, and much of the seabed is only about 40 m below the present-day surface. When sea levels were 120 m lower the gulf would have been dry land 20 kya, and the ancestral river system of the Tigris and Euphrates flowed through the deepest part of the gulf, a canyon cut by the river waters to the Indian Ocean. The postglacial rise in sea level inundated the floor of the gulf between 15 and 6 kya. The sea advanced more than 1000 km, forcing any people living there to abandon their settlements. (145)

The climatic record is, however, unequivocal: for most of the time between around 14 kya and 5 kya the Sahara experienced a monsoonal climate. The region had considerably greater rainfall than now and much of the land had permanent vegetation. (145)

Recent results obtained from a speleothem in Oman provide a record of the summer monsoon (July to September) between 10.3 and 2.7 kya and between 1.4 and 0.4 kya. This shows a marked long-term decline from high levels between 10 and 8 kya including a notably dry period between 5.5 and 5 kya. (145)

So where exactly had this great cedar forest of the gods been located? In the oldest forms of the Epic of Gilgamesh written in Sumerian, the text is quite clear: it is in the Zagros mountains of Kurdistan. Later forms of the epic written in Assyrian times speak of the forest as being in Lebanon, although this is almost certainly incorrect. Palaeo-climatological research has shown that such forests replaced the cold tundra and sparse grasslands that had covered the lower valley regions of the Kurdish highlands after the final retreat of the last Ice Age, somewhere around 8500 BC. The appearance of powerful Asian monsoons in northern Mesopotamia and north-western Iran around this time had brought about dramatic changes in the climatic conditions of the Kurdish highlands, creating vast inland lakes as well as the proliferation of lush vegetation during the spring and summer months. Thick forests of deciduous trees, including cedars, began to grow in the valleys and on the mountain slopes, while the higher elevations turned into lush grasslands, ideal for cultivation. Indeed, these severe climatic changes corresponded almost exactly with the first appearance of the earliest neolithic communities in Kurdistan. Yet then, sometime between 3000 and 2000 BC, these Asian monsoons slowly retreated, leaving the region devoid of its essential spring and summer rains. As a consequence, the lower valleys suffered most, with a reduction in the variety of vegetation, and a slow desiccation of the neighbouring lowland regions, a process that continues to this day. (149)

...the Catal Huyuk culture appeared suddenly on the Konya plain amid a backdrop of very unstable climatic conditions. For example, there is good evidence to suggest that Anatolia was plunged into a mini ice age, c. 8850-8300 BC, following a relatively mild period after the recession of the last Ice Age proper, c. 9500-9000 BC. This glacial relapse would have brought with it intensely long periods of snow, ice and freezing conditions, which would have forced indigenous populations to seek refuge in cave shelters in an attempt to survive on a day-to-day basis. This was significant, for the Catal Huyuk folk's construction of its mostly sub-surface shrines and houses, all huddled together without exterior doors or windows, was clear evidence that they had evolved from a race that had once experienced a subterranean lifestyle...(149)

This is the story of Yima as told in the Avestan literature of Zoroastrian tradition, which perhaps dates back as early as the sixth century BC. Yima may be compared with the righteous Noah, the flood hero of Hebraic tradition, although the Iranian account bears many contrasting differences to its biblical counterpart. To start with, there is no flood, and secondly, instead of Yima constructing a huge sea-going vessel in which he houses the animal kingdom and his immediate family, he is instructed by Ahura Mazda to make a var, a word meaning a subterranean fortress or city. Strangely enough, in Persia the term ark, the word used to describe Noah's vessel, actually means 'citadel' or 'fortress'. Yima constructed the var in order that the Iranian race could survive the 'vehement frost', the freezing conditions and the perpetual snow that was said to have accompanied the 'fatal winter' that raged in the world during this mythical age. There seems little doubt that the so-called 'fatal winter' preserved in Iranian literature refers to the final onslaught of the last Ice Age, which began around 15,000 BC and ended in the Near East perhaps as late as 8500-8300 BC.  (149)

Egypt

 The Nile Valley and Delta are among the richest agricultural niches in the world, and thus the farming way of life may seem to be the "natural" state of human habitation there, but in fact farming came to Egypt only relatively late. For many millennia before farming appeared in Egypt, people lived there simply by hunting, fishing, and gathering the area’s rich profusion of indigenous plants and animals. Today the Nile Valley looks like a rather poor place to try to make a living as a hunter-forager, because the narrow Nile floodplain runs through one of the driest deserts on earth, the Sahara; but before about 10,000 years ago rainfall made the deserts bloom for many millennia. In this Pleistocene epoch the Nile itself teamed with fish and wildfowl, and areas that are now deserts along the Nile were for long periods rich grasslands that supported wild cows, gazelles, and many other large animals which, in turn supported ancient Egyptian hunter-foragers. This centuries-old way of life began to fade away about 10,000 years ago. As the great ice sheets in temperate latitudes shrank, the African rainfall patterns shifted, and the deserts replaced grasslands across much of North Africa. And as these deserts expanded, almost all human life in Egypt was concentrated in the Nile Valley and Delta. (47)

During the latter part of the last ice age, between 20,000 and 10,000 years ago, the eastern Sahara was uninhabited and extremely arid. (70)

As the climate grew more humid around 8000 BC, rainfall turned low-lying areas into lakes and playas. With the onset of this "Neolithic pluvial," the region we now know as Egypt became an extension of the Sahelian savanna. The area offered pastoralists and animals new habitable lands. According to Haynes, during that time, the area received a minimum of eleven inches of rainfall annually and possibly as much as twenty-four. Between 7000 and 4000 BC, when the leading edge of monsoon rains covered a significant portion of Africa's interior, a "pluvial maximum"--when rainfall was at its peak--developed, turning the desert green with life. (70)

Some records indicate that the onset of rains began at Bir Kiseiba around 10,000 BC, but in many other areas, including Abu Ballas in south-central Egypt, they came a thousand years later. Nonetheless, by 7500 BC, rising water tables were able to support lakes in the Sudan. Archaeologists have discovered sediments from these ancient lakes that include sand, mud, freshwater carbonates, sulfate layers, salts, and plant fossils. (70)

Evidence from the Gilf Kebir region reflects a semiarid to arid climate that was dominated by hare, gazelle, and rodents. Remains discovered at Dahkla include hartebeest, gazelle, horse, hippopotamus, bovids, elephant, ostrich, and fish. Rhinoceros bones have been found at Merga, and elephant, antelope, wild cats, and giraffe at Abu Ballas. Since giraffes eat the leaves, buds, and twigs of acacia trees and other plants, it can be assumed that across the region sufficient trees were available to support their diet. (70)

Playas in the northern Egyptian oases were active until 5000 BC. In the Siwa Oasis, the Hatiet Urn El-Hiyus Playa was active through 5900 BC but began to dry out from its high point during the sixth millennium BC. The evidence from these playas indicates that between 8000 and 5000 BC the climate conditions alternated between arid, and wet. Although wet periods lasted for several hundred years, making the region habitable, the overall climate was mostly dry. (70)

What can be surmised is that evidence from the Sudanese and Egyptian lake beds indicate that the beginning of the Sahara's pluvial conditions began about 7880 and ended around 5490 BC. The first wet phase began about 7800 BC, with a second wet phase occurring around 6900 BC. There is also evidence that a third phase existed between 5490 and 5220 BC. Between these wet phases the climate returned to being relatively dry. (70)

Fossil evidence from the Selima Sand Sheet, which was initially formed during the ice age, also suggests that a wet period occurred between 8000 and 5000 BC. (70

Rock art dating to 5000 BC corroborates what the radar equipment revealed. In Libya, Egypt, and Mali, petroglyphs depict not only grazing animals, but also aquatic life such as crocodiles. This indicates that the desert was inhabited during a time prior to 4000 BC and as far back as 8000 BC, when the climate was wet. (70)

…the most important settlements were probably always situated on the floodplain of the Nile; if the floodplain was indeed lower between 8000 and 5000 BC, as has recently been suggested, sites of that period would now lie buried under more recent deposits of alluvium. It has never seemed logical that the Nile valley would be almost uninhabited during a period when lands to the east and west of Egypt were experiencing great advances in population and cultural development. (115)

The climatic record is, however, unequivocal: for most of the time between around 14 kya and 5 kya the Sahara experienced a monsoonal climate. The region had considerably greater rainfall than now and much of the land had permanent vegetation. (145)

Following the turbulent period of global upheavals and climatic changes that signalled the end of the last Ice Age, everything seems to have gone quiet in Egypt. All that is known from palaeo­climatological research is that between 8000 and 5000 BC the country suffered heavily from intensely long periods of rain - a time known to scholars as the neolithic subpluvial (a pluvial being a period of constant rain). Little is known about the peoples who inhabited Egypt during this age. (149)

Indus Valley

 With its dominant motif of a once much larger Dravidian homeland, the opening of the Kumari Kandam flood myth is set in remote prehistory between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago. The work of Glenn Milne and other inundation specialists confirms that between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago India's Dravidian peninsula and its outlying islands would indeed have been far larger than they are today - but were in the process of being swallowed up by the rising seas at the end of the Ice Age. (124)

An epoch of spectacular geological turmoil occurred at the end of the last Ice Age, with the most dramatic effects registered in a series of cataclysmic floods that took place at intervals between roughly 15,000 and 7000 years ago. Is it an accident that this same 8000-year period has been pinpointed by archaeologists as the very one in which our supposedly primitive forefathers made the transition (in different places at somewhat different times) from their age-old hunter-gatherer lifestyle to settled agriculture? Or could there be more to 'the food-producing revolution' than meets the eye? After all, most scientists already recognize a causative connection between the end of the Ice Age and the supposed beginning of farming - indeed an unproven hypothesis that rapid climate changes forced hunter-gatherers to invent agriculture presently serves as pretty much the sum of conventional wisdom on this subject. But there is another possibility. Nobody seems to have noticed that in the general vicinity of each of the places in the world where the food-producing revolution is supposed to have begun between 15,000 and 7000 years ago there is also a large area of land that was submerged by the post-glacial floods between 15,000 and 7000 years ago: We have seen that this is true for India, one of the world's ancient agricultural 'hearths', which lost more than a million square kilometres in the south and the west and, most conspicuously in the north-west, at the end of the Ice Age. (124)

China

  …for some thousands of years after the end of the Pleistocene at about 12,000 years ago, China's climate was somewhat warmer and moister than it is today, and much of the country was probably heavily forested, from the temperate forests of the north to the jungles in the south. (49)

Widespread evidence of lake levels in China and Mongolia shows that conditions were moister than present until 5 kya. (145)

Europe

 Like the paleogeographers at Franchthi Cave, Plato's Egyptian priest also saw the Greece of Solon's day as a "mere remnant" (Critias 111) of her former size--a remarkable coincidence in itself--but the priest blamed deluge, earthquake, and subsequent erosion: You are left, as with little islands, with something rather like the skeleton of a body wasted by disease; the rich, soft soil has all run away leaving the land nothing but skin and bone. But in those days the damage had not taken place; the hills had high crests, the rocky plain of Phelleus was covered with rich soil. ... (Critias 111) If this disaster were of truly the magnitude claimed by the priest, the survival even of Franchthi Cave, the only active site known to Greek archaeology during that 9000 to 6000 BC "gap,” would be somewhat miraculous. (115)

At peak moments of the meltdown any hypothetical civilizations living around the edges of partially enclosed seas that served as drainage areas for the great ice-sheets could have suffered disproportionately large and rapid change in sea-level. In a sophisticated and original argument, LaViolette draws particular attention to the Mediterranean: Glacial meltwater [from the nearby European ice-sheets] would have entered the Mediterranean much more rapidly than it could escape through the Straits of Gibraltar, and, as a result, the temporary rise in Mediterranean sea-level would have been much greater than in the surrounding oceans ... [Such meltwater surges] could have temporarily raised the Mediterranean by some 60 meters, flooding all coast civilizations. (124)

…there is no dispute from any authority that during the extremely cold and arid periods that occurred several times between 17,000 and 10,000 years ago: man and animals could migrate from the Italian peninsula, by land, to the warmer climates of the Siculo-Maltese district. Herds of red deer left northern latitudes and settled in all parts of present-day Sicily, the present-day Egadi islands of Favignana and Levanzo, and the Maltese archipelago, the latter site being the warmest of the Siculo-Maltese district during the Pleistocene. (124)

In 1931 a trawler working in the southern North Sea dredged up a lump of peat containing an exquisitely crafted spearhead made from a deer's antler. Dated as being nearly 14 kyr old, this artefact was dramatic evidence of how early humans exploited the broad expanses of land that had been exposed during the last ice age, and were only reclaimed by the sea some 7 kya. When this spearhead was buried, dense oak forests had yet to spread into the region, known to archaeologists as 'Doggerland', where now the sea is over 30m deep. This famous find emphasises that the rise in sea level between about 15 and 5 kya covered up large areas of habitable land that had been exploited by humans and made movement around the continental margins easier. (145)

Pollen diagrams, which show the spatial and temporal spread of trees across Europe, paint a picture of an invasion that lasted a few thousand years. In the vanguard were birch and pine which reached Denmark by 10.5 kya, and were closely followed by hazel and then elm. Then around 8.5 kya came lime, oak and alder. The pattern of advance varied as oak already covered the southern half of the continent by 10 kya and reached its northerly limit in Britain by 8 kya and in Scandinavia and Russia by 7 kya. Lime took a somewhat different route. Starting from a smaller area in the Balkans and Italy, it reached its northern limit by 7 kya. Overall, the transition to peak Holocene levels of tree cover in the eastern Mediterranean took about a thousand years following the end of the Younger Dryas. Farther north the forest cover was still rather more open than at present with more herbaceous glades, but by 8.5 kya the forest had become closed. (145)

South America

 The spread of human hunting and gathering societies over the New World after 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last glacial period, coincides with the extinction of many animal species, and by about 10,000 years ago, all or most of the mammoths, mastodons, long-horned bison, tapirs, horses, giant ground sloths, dire wolves, camels, and many other creatures had disappeared. Extinction is, of course, a natural evolutionary development and can be accounted for by known biological processes. But the number of animal species that became extinct in the New World and their apparently rapid rate of extinction has led some to conclude that human hunters forced many New World animals into extinction shortly after the Pleistocene. We might also note that there is no archeological evidence that the hunting practices most likely to lead to animal extinctions, such as drives and jumps, were ever used during the period, some 10,000 to 8,000 years ago, when most of the larger species became extinct.(26)

Mesoamerica

 The spread of human hunting and gathering societies over the New World after 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last glacial period, coincides with the extinction of many animal species, and by about 10,000 years ago, all or most of the mammoths, mastodons, long-horned bison, tapirs, horses, giant ground sloths, dire wolves, camels, and many other creatures had disappeared. Extinction is, of course, a natural evolutionary development and can be accounted for by known biological processes. But the number of animal species that became extinct in the New World and their apparently rapid rate of extinction has led some to conclude that human hunters forced many New World animals into extinction shortly after the Pleistocene. We might also note that there is no archeological evidence that the hunting practices most likely to lead to animal extinctions, such as drives and jumps, were ever used during the period, some 10,000 to 8,000 years ago, when most of the larger species became extinct.(26)

North America

 ...the drumlins and other 'hummocky' landforms strewn across Canada are evidence of continental floods of biblical proportions - floods of water in some cases hundreds of metres high - that roared out from beneath the ice-caps during the last deglaciation, destroying or mangling everything in their path. Shaw explicitly suggests that many elements of the universal myth of the deluge may be explained by such floods pouring down off the land - intimately linked, as they were, to the episodes of sudden and ferocious sea-level rise that took place between 15,000 and 8000 years ago. I think it is worth re-emphasizing Shaw's figures, and their implications. He is talking about turbulent, energetic floods 20 metres deep flowing in vortices at high speed and pressure, under the main ice-sheets, across fronts up to 160 kilometres wide. Only floods on such a scale and of such violence could have sculpted the drumlin-fields and hummocky terrain and tortured pitted scablands of Canada and the United States and carved out other remarkable features such as the extremely large through valleys - including those containing the Finger Lakes - that lie to the south of drumlin-fields in northern New York State. 'Volumes of water required to sustain such floods', observes Shaw, 'would have been of the order of one million cubic kilometres equivalent to a rise of several metres in sea-level over a matter of weeks. (124)

The spread of human hunting and gathering societies over the New World after 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last glacial period, coincides with the extinction of many animal species, and by about 10,000 years ago, all or most of the mammoths, mastodons, long-horned bison, tapirs, horses, giant ground sloths, dire wolves, camels, and many other creatures had disappeared. Extinction is, of course, a natural evolutionary development and can be accounted for by known biological processes. But the number of animal species that became extinct in the New World and their apparently rapid rate of extinction has led some to conclude that human hunters forced many New World animals into extinction shortly after the Pleistocene. We might also note that there is no archeological evidence that the hunting practices most likely to lead to animal extinctions, such as drives and jumps, were ever used during the period, some 10,000 to 8,000 years ago, when most of the larger species became extinct.(26)

Between about 8000 and 6500 B.C., the annual temperature of much of the North American East was probably 2.5 degrees Celsius cooler than at present...(53)

In some prehistoric periods the Southwest was wetter than it is today, but for most of the last ten thousand years the Southwest has usually been at least as hot and dry as it is today, and there were short periods of extreme drought. (53)

During the Clovis era, which began 11,500 years ago and continued for a few hundred years thereafter, the living things of North America were undergoing what was one of the more traumatic times in the history of the earth. For people living here at the time, the world may well have seemed an unstable place. Familiar animals might suddenly disappear, seeking their favored food, which had also gone somewhere else. What might have been a good place for your parents might change into something that would not support you. People would have been on the move. One result was a great many more species going extinct, not unlike what had happened in all the previous interstadials. These ecological changes were driven, of course, by the relatively rapid climate change that brought on the relatively rapid disintegration of the glacial ice: by 7,000 years ago, the ice was about what it is today in extent and location. The particularly important results of the overall climate change under way were the reestablishment of four-season continental climates and the increase in seasonal extremes - colder winters, hotter summers - which unquestionably stressed the creatures that had adapted to somewhat more consistent year-round conditions. There's only so much cold a southern white pine can take, for example, and only so much summer heat a blue spruce can live through. In this chaotic late Pleistocene-early Holocene period, the limits of everyone and everything were being tested. Creatures needed to readjust to new ranges. Among mammals, size transformation proved a more salutary strategy than the conservative one of simply sweating it out: the 350-pound beaver gave way to a successor more like today's, for example, smaller in size and behaviorally more clever. Changing patterns of precipitation (and evaporation) would have created similar challenges. New habitats were being created in virtually every part of North America, a shifting kaleidoscope of ecosystems that meant tremendous change for any creatures present, including humans.(130)

Other

 He showed me striking underwater pictures that he had taken of a bizarre terraced structure, apparently a man-made monument of some kind, lying at depths of up to 30 metres off the south coast of the Japanese island of Yonaguni. His extensive survey, sampling and measurement had shown that it had been hewn out of solid bedrock when the site was still above water. If sea-level rise were the only factor to take into account, then provisional calculations would indicate a date of inundation of around l0,000 years ago. (124)

The same story of pressure on resources emerges from analysis of rock art in northern Australia. This tells a tale of continuing collective violence, which develops from individual and small group conflicts around 10 kya to larger group confrontations from about 6 kya. This covers a period of ecological crisis when the rising sea flooded the rich plains between Australia and New Guinea. (145)

Some 260 million years ago, during the Permian period, deciduous trees adapted to a warm climate grew in Antarctica. ...Here at the southernmost known mountain in the world, - scarcely two hundred miles from the South Pole, was found conclusive evidence that the climate of Antarctica was once temperate or even sub-tropical. ...sedimentary cores collected from the bottom of the Ross Sea by one of the Byrd Antarctic Expeditions provide conclusive evidence that 'great rivers, carrying down fine well grained sediments' did flow in this part of Antarctica until perhaps as late as 4000 BC. From 6000 to 15,000 years ago the sediment is fine-grained with the exception of one granule at about 12,000 years ago. This suggests an absence of ice from the area during that period, except perhaps for a stray iceberg 12,000 years ago. ...at one time the temperatures of the Arctic Ocean were similar to the contemporary temperatures of the Bay of Bengal or the Caribbean Sea. (152)

Astronomical considerations...suggest that the underwater monument of Yonaguni is likely to have been constructed - and thus to have stood on dry land - somewhere between 9900 and 9000 years before the present - precisely the same epoch was identified by geologists as the last time that the monument would have stood above sea-level. (161)