Earth Collections: Pleistocene database

The Pleistocene Epoch extended from 1.8 million years ago to 10,000 years ago.

Pleistocene holdings in the University collections comprise by far the largest portion of Cainozoic holdings, numbering nearly 9000 items. This is almost entirely due to one main reason - the extensive outcrops of fossiliferous Pleistocene deposits in Oxfordshire and adjacent counties.

Pleistocene faunas reflect the massive climatic upheavals of the Pleistocene - an epoch commonly referred to as the Ice Age. During the Pleistocene global climatic cooling trends culminated in the spread of ice sheets, extending well into temperate latitudes, provoking rapid faunal changes, and frequently leaving behind extensive fossil-bearing terrestrial deposits, as ice masses advanced and retreated numerous times.

During this time, animals and plants developed modern characters, and our own species arrived and began to make its mark.

The Museum's holdings are dominated by terrestrial vertebrates from the UK, and most especially from Oxfordshire itself, a county with extensive and important Plasticene outcrops which are still actively exploited for gravel, meaning that new material is still actively added.

Important historical collections include those of Buckland, Sir Joseph Prestwich, and Donald F.W. Baden-Powell from the 19th and 20th centuries, among many others.

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