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second and current epoch of the Quaternary period
Temperature variations during the Holocene
Paleogeographic reconstruction of the North Sea appr. 9000 years ago during the young Holocene and after the end of the last ice age.

The Holocene is the present geological epoch. It started around 11,000 years ago after the last ice age. We are currently going through a non-ice age warming stage in our earth's history. This is the Holocene.

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It is also called the Recent epoch. It is the second stage in the Quaternary period.

The Holocene marks the end of the previous series of ice ages in the Pleistocene. It started about 11,700 years ago when the temperatures rose quickly from the previous level.

During the early Holocene, there were many extinctions amongst larger mammals. This is because of human hunting and climate change.[1][2][3]

At this time the Bering bridge connecting Russia and Alaska melted. Also the land bridge between China and Japan melted (starting the Jōmon period), as well as many land bridges between islands in Southeast Asia.


  1. Martin P.S. and Klein R.G. eds 1984. Quaternary extinctions: a prehistoric revolution. Arizona, Tucson AZ.
  2. Roberts, Neil 1998. The Holocene: an environmental history. 2nd ed, Blackwell, Malden, MA. ISBN 0-631-18637-9
  3. Mackay A.W. Battarbee R.W. Birks H.J.B. et al. eds 2003. Global change in the Holocene. Arnold, London. ISBN 0-340-76223-3