The Ice Age Essay

The Ice Age Term paper

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Twenty thousand years ago during the time of the last ice age period, many colossal mammals roamed North America. They survived during the times when much of the earth was covered by immense large bodies of ice that buried forests, fields, and mountains, but rapidly became extinct after the ice began to retreat and melt. Since then the human race has introduced many different theories to explain the extinction of these large mammals. One theory stands above all and explains the truth of this mysterious disappearance. The Paleo Indians that entered North America from Asia, the climate change, soil, vegetation and water levels were all major factors in this extinction. The results of these factors left the biggest impact on the food chain of these animals. The domino-effect of all these factors is responsible for the extinction of the ice age mammals. Animals, like all other living organisms have a tendency to adapt to the environment in which they live. A cold climate favors large animals, since large animals have more body fat and lose heat at a slower rate then do smaller animals. That is why many of the mammals that lived during the ice age were enormous. These large animals consisted of ground sloths and armadillos which came northward from South America, and horses, saber-toothed cats, mammoths, antelopes, and muskoxen that crossed over the land bridge from Asia into North America. For the longest time fossils from many parts of North America were the only evidence that many of these large beasts had once roamed the land, but in the spring of 1846 an unbelievable event happened that brought the world a step closer to the mystery of this great extinction. A Russian explorer Benkendorf and his survey team from Russia were heading for the mouth of the Indigirka River in Siberia. When they reached the spot of their destination, the land had disappeared and everything had changed. Left behind was two miles wide of torn up land, and wild waters carrying rapidly masses of peat and loam. In the mixture of the mess they seemed to notice what was once one of the mammoths who roamed the earth during the ice ages. (Chorlton 53) Our patience was tried. At last, however, a huge black horrible mass bobbed up out of the water. We beheld a colossal elephants head, armed with mighty tusks, its long trunk waving uncannily in the water, as though seeking something it had lost. Breathless with astonishment, I beheld the monster hardly 12 feet away, with the white of his half-open eyes showing. 'A mammoth! A mammoth!' someone shouted. (Chorlton 54) An elephant with a body covered with thick fur about thirteen feet in height and fifteen in length with tusks eight feet long that curved outward at the end. It had a trunk six feet long and colossal legs one and a half feet thick. The beast was fat and well grown. The outer hair was like wool, very soft, warm and thick, it was definitely well protected from the cold.(Chorlton 54) Unfortunately the mammoth soon began to decay and was swept away by the rapid waters. This dramatic find brought the world face to face with one of the great mysteries of the ice age, the sudden extinction of the great colossal mammals. These large mammals at one time lived in peace and survived gracefully for thousands of years, they adapted to the cold climate and tundra surrounding them. With an adequate food chain and nothing to affect it they were bound to survive forever, but because of simple changes that eventually triggered many other factors these animals are extinct and will never be on this earth again. When the massive continental glaciers locked up great quantities of water, the sea levels lowered which exposed parts of the shallow sea floor, therefore, the Bering Strait did not exist. Eleven thousand, years ago many Paleo Indians were able to cross the land bridge between Asia and North American which enabled them to populate North America. The great amount of large animals attracted these people to the frozen waste lands. In all hunting that ends with the extermination of a species, the motivation is never hunger. Money, and the greed for it, have been the incentive. The savage does not know these, he hunts to eat and so is unable to decimate the big game to any important extent (Cornwall 117) The large mammals of North American were never exposed to the intellectual minds of human beings. Therefore, this drastic change of humans living on their land and feeding on there own kind was a big change. These animals were like helpless ants and had no way to protect themselves from human beings. Due to their unintelligence they were very easily killed, by being surrounded or by using fire to track them in the direction they were intended to go. Deadly spears have been found in the remains of many of these giant animals, this was the Indians only way of survival. From hunting these mammals weapons, shelters and clothing were made. Animals bones and tusks were often used for weapons, and homes were built out of bones, tusks and were covered with animals hides. The left over carcasses of
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