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ICE AGE EXTINCTIONS OF THE MEGAFAUNADuring the last Ice Age before humans arrived the North American continent belonged to various forms of enormous fantastic creatures By the end of the Ice Age most of these large animals had become extinct Numerous attempts have been made to explain the disappearance of these animals but there has yet to be a consensus Among the theories that have been debated two are predominant They are the climatic change theory and the overkill theory The climatic change theory advocates the idea that the global warming which brought about the end of the Ice Age caused the animals to die off The other is the overkill theory which maintains that humans by over hunting the animals are responsible for the extinctions It is likely that many of these animals became extinct at the end of the Ice Age due to a combination of climatic change and overkillThe Ice Age which began about one and a half million years ago is also referred to as the Pleistocene Epoch Much of the Pleistocene falls within the geological time period called the Quaternary stage We are still in the Quaternary today The Ice Age consisted of a series of glacial advances and retreats called glaciations and deglaciations There have been a total of at least twenty glaciations including four or five that were significant in the last 24 million yearsIn the most recent glaciation thirty percent of the earth was covered in sheets of ice over two miles thick The last glaciation in North America is called the Wisconsin The Wisconsin glaciaciation began 122000 years ago The advance of the Late Wisconsin began 35000 years ago The ice sheets called the Laurentide and the Cordilleran glaciers stretched southward to the middle of the continent covering most of what is now Canada and the area in the Pacific Northwest from Alaska to Tacoma On the eastern half of the continent the ice covered
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