Origins of the Planet (04:28)
Periods of pleasant climate allowed civilizations to rise, increased trade, and created economic prosperity; extremes in weather produced wars, and human catastrophes. After the earth was formed temperature differences brought winds and oceanic currents. A large cooling event after the dinosaurs went extinct caused the polar ice caps to spread into parts of Europe. (Credits)
The Neanderthal flourished during the oscillating periods of extreme heat and cold. The population made fire, wore clothes, and lived in caves. Needing to ingest lots of meat to maintain muscle mass, the archaic humans hunted large game like mammoths and tracked their prey over large distances.
Neanderthal Age (06:03)
Earth's orbit, sea current changes, and the sun itself cause periodic fluctuations in climate. Scientists study how the Gulf Stream affected the Neanderthal in the Eifel Mountains of Germany. Pollen samples allow the researchers to understand climatic conditions thousands of years ago.
End of Neanderthals (03:04)
Homo sapiens migrated to Europe from Africa and could throw spears. The last Neanderthal died about 24,000 years ago on the Rock of Gibraltar. Homo sapiens spread across the globe and learned how to survive in changing climates.
Earth Moved Closer to Sun (03:54)
A new era began of milder climate fluctuations; the ice sheets melted, the Gulf Stream started blowing, and biodiversity increased. At Göbekli Tepe pillars of stone were carved depicting foxes, boar, and birds. Humans learned how to cultivate the land.
Establishing Villages (02:36)
Humans stopped living a nomadic lifestyle, which allowed societies and specialists to grow. Inventions of pottery, metalwork, weaving, bread, and beer changed communities. Jericho existed on the banks of the river Jordan.
Great Flood (06:18)
A large Ice sheet melted in North America creating the ancient Lake Agassiz, causing the Gulf Stream to stop blowing warm air towards Europe and drying up the fertile crescent. Homo sapiens migrated into parts of Europe and further south. Most early cultures recall the time period in their mythology or religious texts.
Impact from Great Flood (05:56)
Lakes and seas formed as a result of the great flood; Japan, Indonesia, and Australia became islands. Archaeologists found cave paintings and hand stencils in the Sahara Desert, making them believe the area once teemed with life. Monsoon winds carried cool air into the area for a short time but then a severe drought occurred and deserts formed in subtropical regions.
Homo Sapiens Migrate (04:46)
Homo sapiens settled along the Nile River, which remained fertile. The Egyptians created an extensive system of canals using locks and buckets to create a larger arable area for agriculture and invented the nilometer which could predict the strength of the annual flood. An empire arose due to their organization and allocation of the water supply.
Rise of New Civilizations (02:46)
Civilizations grew in Mesopotamia, Persia, India, Mediterranean, China, Mexico, and Peru. Qatna, in modern-day Syria, became one of the major trading centers between African societies and the Middle East. Many of these communities worshiped the sun; a seafaring community started ransacking and destroying others societies.
Role of Climate Change (04:14)
Dominik Fleitmann describes how he uses information stored in stalagmites to determine the climate during the Dark Age of the Bronze Age. Calcium deposits left in rainwater create stalactites. The paleo-climatologist describes how his results demonstrate that Southern Turkey was undergoing a drought.
Migrants Flocked to Egypt (04:13)
Rameses the third won a victory over the incoming raiders. Temperatures drop and rainfall reduces; in time glaciers recede and nature's balance was restored. Rome conquered Egypt and created an empire of bread and circuses.
Credits: How Climate Made History: Episode 1 (00:36)
Credits: How Climate Made History: Episode 1
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