Special Report

What the World Was Like a Million Years Ago

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Earth was colder

In geologic terms, a million years ago was the Pleistocene age (2.5 million years BC to 11,711 years BC), and Earth was five to 10 degrees colder than it is today. Prolonged glaciation periods occurred during this time,

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Lower sea levels

The sea levels were much lower. Geologists estimate that difference in sea level between glacial epochs was as much as almost 400 feet.

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Bering Strait land bridge

Because of lowered sea levels, the narrow Bering Strait of today might have had a land bridge, allowing migration from Asia to North America. The idea of a land bridge has fascinated people for hundreds of years. The first written record that suggested the existence of such a bridge was recorded in 1590 by Spanish missionary Fray José de Acosta.

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The British Isles were connected to Europe

There was once a land bridge between Britain and continental Europe before rising seas submerged it. The ice age lowered sea levels dramatically, exposing the sea bed. The area between much of the northern coast of Europe and Britain was called Doggerland and provided a route for animals to go to the warmer climes of southern Europe.

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No Baltic Sea

There was no Baltic Sea a million years ago. The Baltic Sea is the youngest seas in the world, appearing between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago as the ice sheets from the ice age retreated.