Ice Age Animals | Sunday Observer

Ice Age Animals

15 January, 2023

There were several Ice Ages in world history. The Ice Age is a long-period of temperature reductions on earth that expands the polar ice sheets into other continents.

These changes take place under the surface of the earth, on the surface of the earth and in the atmosphere. The causes of the Ice Ages are not fully understood. However, scientists believe that atmospheric changes such as the increase in the level of carbon dioxide, methane and greenhouse gases could be causes of the Ice Ages. They are called glacial periods too.

The period between two Ice Ages is called the Inter-Glacial period.

How many major Ice Ages are there in history?

According to scientists, there are five major Ice Ages in the history of the earth. They are the Huronian (2.4-2.1 billion years ago), Cryogenian (850-635 million years ago), Andean-Saharan (460-430 million years ago), Karoo (360-260 million years ago) and Quaternary (2.6 million years ago). These are the oldest Ice Ages.

The last Ice Age which is the well-known Ice Age took place between 65,000 years to 50,000 years ago.

Different species of Ice Age animals

There were different species of Ice Age animals.

The large animals were horses, ground sloths, bison, mammoth, mastodon, camels, musk ox, sabre-tooth, cats, short-faced bear, moose, and jaguar.

Medium sized animals of the Ice Age were the pronghorn, dire wolves, peccary, foxes and tapirs.

The small animals were voles, ground squirrels, deer , mice, gophers, pack rats, badgers, and moles.

Ice Age films

The only ways in which we can see the Ice Age animals are through the famous film series Ice Age, drawings in book and pictures and models in museums.

The Ice Age films are;

Ice Age (2002)

Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)

Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)

Ice Age: Collision Course (2016)

Well known Ice Age animals

Woolly Mammoth: This is an extinct species of mammoth which lived during the Pleistocene age until its extinction in the Holocene epoch. It was one of the last in a line of mammoth species, beginning with Mammuthus subplanifrons in the early Pliocene age. It’s scientific name is Mammuthus primigenius.

They were roughly about the size of modern African elephants. A male woolly mammoth's shoulder height was 9 to 11 feet and weighed around six tons.

Musk Ox: It is native to the Arctic and its known for the thick coat and the strong odour emitted by males during the seasonal rut. It is from this that the name is derived. A fully grown male Musk Ox weighed about 180-410 kilo grams. It had a height from four to five feet. It had a lifespan of 12-20 years. A male Musk Ox could run at of 60 kilometres per hour.

Pronghorn: It is a species of artiodactyls mammal indigenous to interior western and central North America. It weighs about 65 kilograms. A well-built male had a height of three to four feet upto its shoulder. It was active night and day. It could run at of 98 kilometres per hour.

Voles: They are small rodents that are relatives of hamsters, but with a stouter body, a longer, hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, smaller eyes and ears. Their molar teeth are differently formed. They are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in North America. Their body mass is as small as 35 grams. The average length is 12 centimetres.

We are in an interglacial period now. There could be Ice Ages in the future too.

Pahanma Liyanage
Grade 6-A
Lyceum International School