Ice age fauna of northern Spain. Illustration by Mauricio Antón.
Ice age fauna of northern Spain. Illustration by Mauricio Antón.

Elephants, rhinos, big cats — In modern times, we associate these animals with the sultry plains and savannas of Africa, but 12,000 years ago, they were virtually everywhere on the planet. Elephants were just as common in the Americas and Eurasia as they are in Africa today, and lions were widespread across the Northern Hemisphere.

This time period in Earth’s history is called the Pleistocene epoch, but due to the extensive glaciation events, it is more commonly known as “the Ice Age”. Lasting from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago, the Ice Age saw the fall of Earth’s most enthralling megafauna and the rise of modern day humans. Let’s have a look at the magnificent beasts that came and went during this frozen era.