Quaternary Period


Quaternary Period
Interval of geologic time, 1.

8 million years ago to the present. The Quaternary follows the Tertiary Period and is the more recent of the two periods of the Cenozoic Era. The Quaternary is subdivided into the Pleistocene Epoch and the Holocene Epoch and is characterized by major cyclical changes of climate on a global scale. These led to repeated invasions of vast areas by ice sheets. Its major biologic feature is the evolution and dispersion of humans. The dramatic changes of climate and environment in the Quaternary led to high rates of evolution and extinction, particularly among the mammals. The extinction of many large mammals toward the end of the last ice age may also be related to the rapid territorial expansion of humans.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • quaternary — [kwät′ər ner΄ē, kwə tʉr′nə rē] adj. [L quaternarius < quaterni, four together, four each < quater, four times < base of quattuor,FOUR] 1. consisting of four; in sets of four 2. [usually Q ] designating or of the second and current… …   English World dictionary

  • quaternary — /kwot euhr ner ee, kweuh terr neuh ree/, adj., n., pl. quaternaries. adj. 1. consisting of four. 2. arranged in fours. 3. (cap.) Geol. noting or pertaining to the present period of earth history, forming the latter part of the Cenozoic Era,… …   Universalium

  • Quaternary — The Quaternary Period is the geologic time period after the Neogene Period roughly 2.588 million years ago to the present. The Quaternary includes two geologic epochs: the Pleistocene including Gelasian, that used to belong to the Pliocene and… …   Wikipedia

  • Quaternary extinction event — Late Pleistocene landscape of northern Eurasia The Quaternary period saw the extinctions of numerous predominantly larger, especially megafaunal, species, many of which occurred during the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene epoch.… …   Wikipedia

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  • Quaternary — adj. & n. adj. 1 having four parts. 2 (Quaternary) Geol. of or relating to the most recent period in the Cenozoic era with evidence of many species of present day plants and animals (cf. PLEISTOCENE, HOLOCENE). Usage: Cf. Appendix II. n. (pl.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • quaternary — adj. & n. adj. 1 having four parts. 2 (Quaternary) Geol. of or relating to the most recent period in the Cenozoic era with evidence of many species of present day plants and animals (cf. PLEISTOCENE, HOLOCENE). Usage: Cf. Appendix II. n. (pl.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • period — /pear ee euhd/, n. 1. a rather large interval of time that is meaningful in the life of a person, in history, etc., because of its particular characteristics: a period of illness; a period of great profitability for a company; a period of social… …   Universalium