There has been permanent ice on the Earth for over 2.5 million years. The amount of ice has changed from time to time. Mario Krapp from University of Cambridge has led a team which simulated 800,000 years of global climate change.
Krapp’s team focused on changes in vegetation and found that many habitats were unstable 90 per cent of the time – of those which were stable many were places not so hospitable including the deserts of northern Africa, Arabia and southern Asia.
These types of changes may have had an impact on our own evolution for the following reasons:
- This encouraged our evolution in certain areas of Africa, rather than other areas
- It might have encouraged the evolution of our big brains with our ancestors forced to adapt to varying environments.
- It may also explain why so many different hominins once existed. Different species might have been better adapted to different environments. And also inhospitable environments kept different species apart – for example they might have been separated by a desert.