Subdivision of the Quaternary Period according to the ICS, as of May 2019.
For the Holocene, dates are relative to the year 2000 (e.g. Greenlandian began 11,700 years before 2000). For the beginning of the Northgrippian a date of 8,236 years before 2000 has been set. The Meghalayan has been set to begin 4,250 years before 2000.
'Tarantian' is an informal, unofficial name proposed for a stage/age to replace the equally informal, unofficial 'Upper Pleistocene' subseries/subepoch.
The end of the Younger Dryas marks the boundary between the Pleistocene and Holocene Epochs. Man in all parts of the world was still culturally and technologically in the Palaeolithic (Old Stone) Age. Tools and weapons were basic stone or wooden implements. Nomadic tribes followed moving herds. Non-nomadics acquired their food by gathering and hunting.
Cave paintings have been found at Lascaux in the Dordogne which may be more than 17,000 years old. These are mainly of buffalo, deer and other animals hunted by man. Later paintings occur in caves throughout the world with further examples at Altamira (Spain) and in India, Australia and the Sahara.
Magdalenian hunter-gatherers were widespread in western Europe about 18,000 years ago until the end of the Pleistocene. They invented the earliest known harpoons using reindeer horn.
The only domesticated animal in the Pleistocene was the dog, which evolved from the grey wolf into its many modern breeds. It is believed that the grey wolf became associated with hunter-gatherer tribes around 15,000 ka. The earliest remains of a true domestic dog have been dated to 14,200 ka. Domestication first happened in Eurasia but could have been anywhere from Western Europe to East Asia. Domestication of other animals such as cattle, goats, pigs and sheep did not begin until the Holocene when settled farming communities became established in the Near East. The cat was probably not domesticated before c. 7500 BC at the earliest, again in the Near East.
From about 28 ka, there were migrations across the Bering land bridge from Siberia to Alaska. The people became the Native Americans. It is believed that the original tribes subsequently moved down to Central and South America under pressure from later migrations.
Bison occidentalis and Bison antiquus, an extinct subspecies of the smaller present-day bison, survived the Late Pleistocene period, between about 12 and 11 ka ago. Clovis peoples depended on these bison as their major food source. Earlier kills of camels, horses, and muskoxen found at Wally's beach were dated to 13.1–13.3 ka B.P.
^Olaf Thalmann; Angela R. Perri (2018). "Palaeogenomic Inferences of Dog Domestication". In Lindqvist, C.; Rajora, O. (eds.). Palaeogenomics. Population Genomics. Springer, Cham. pp. 273–306. doi:10.1007/13836_2018_27. ISBN978-3-030-04752-8.
^A. E. Sanders, R. E. Weems & L. B. Albright III (2009). Formalization of the mid-Pleistocene "Ten Mile Hill beds" in South Carolina with evidence for placement of the Irvingtonian-Rancholabrean boundary. Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin (64:369-375).
^D. E. Savage (1951). Late Cenozoic vertebrates of the San Francisco Bay region. University of California Publications; Bulletin of the Department of Geological Sciences (28:215-314).
^Bell, C. J. (2004). "The Blancan, Irvingtonian, and Rancholabrean mammal ages". In Woodburne, M. O. (ed.). Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic Mammals of North America: Biostratigraphy and Geochronology. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 232–314. ISBN0-231-13040-6.