In the movie, Ice Age, a saber-toothed tiger befriends a woolly mammoth – not a likely happening in real life. The last real-life ice age occurred about 18,000 years ago. During this time, North America, Europe and Asia were covered with ice. Saber-toothed tigers became extinct during this period, but they hunted mammoths and other mammals for food.
Scientists believe the Earth has experienced several ice ages with warm and cold periods. We’re actually in a warm pattern of an ice age right now. Ice ages are caused by several factors. Continental drift causes land masses to move into colder areas of the planet. The Earth’s rotation around the Sun slowly shifts over thousands of years. The Earth’s axis also changes its tilt slightly, or even wobbles on its axis.
Fun Facts about Ice Age for Kids
- During ice ages, glaciers carve out the landscape, leaving deep valleys.
- During the last cold period, ocean waters were frozen and coastal areas dried out. A narrow strip of land between Siberia and Alaska appeared. Animals and people migrated between the two countries via this strip of land. As the temperature rose, the waters melted and the land strip disappeared. No more migrating!
- The Earth has experienced at least five ice ages.
Ice Age Vocabulary
- Saber-toothed tiger or cat: large, fierce feline predator now extinct
- Mammoth: large mammal resembling an elephant
- Extinct: gone from the planet
- Rotation: circular movement
All about Ice Age Video for Kids
This is the best video we found for kids to learn about Ice Age:
A video documentary all about Ice Age and how it happened.
Ice Age Q&A
Question: Who is Otzi the Ice Man?
Answer: Otzi the Ice Man is a Neolithic hunter who died more than 5,000 years ago. His mummified body was discovered in 1991 by hikers in Italy in a melting glacier.
Question: How do scientists know when the last ice age was?
Answer: Scientists obtain evidence for ice ages in a variety of ways, some of which are rock scouring, valley cutting and glacial erratics. They also date the different fossils discovered and where they are found. During cold periods the cold-adapted animals spread to lower latitudes while the animals that prefer warmer climates become extinct or are pushed into even lower latitudes.
Question: Other than saber-toothed tigers and wooly mammoths what animals lived during the ice age?
Answer: There were lots of other animals that lived during the ice age, or Pleistocene epoch. Like animals today they varied depending on the areas in which they lived. Some of the larger animals of the period were giant sloths, American lion, giant condors, dire wolves, camelops, mastodons, giant beavers, teratorns, stegomastodon, short-faced kangaroo, giant wombat, cave bear, woolly rhinoceros and giant owls just to name a few. These animals are categorized as Pleistocene megafauna.