Step back in time in the UK’s largest Ice Age exhibit and walk amongst the magnificent creatures that roamed the Earth millions of years ago.
Explorers can go on a prehistoric journey of life on Earth after the dinosaurs became extinct. Wander through an enormous rumbling volcano and pass through a huge atmospheric ice cave…
38 – 24 MILLION YEARS AGO
Exit the warmth of the volcano and enter the Oligocene Epoch. Dinosaurs had just become extinct from Earth and many areas were now overrun with forests, grasses and plant life. This gave way to some of the earliest herbivores, such as chalicotherium, motherium and embolotherium, which had a huge battering-ram at the end of its skull, most likely used for sound production.
It was during this time that the biggest land mammal to have ever walked the Earth lived – the gigantic paraceretherium. At over 5m tall, this creature is a very early relative to the rhinoceros, even though it had a lifestyle similar to a giraffe.
2 MILLION – 1O THOUSAND YEARS AGO
Next you will travel through the Pleistocene Epoch, where the Earth was beginning to cool.
The ferocious sabre-tooth cat, also known as smilodon, was the apex predator during this time. However, it relied upon the fauna in order to ambush its prey, which was reducing. Animals such as the entelodont were able to outrun smilodons and find other ways to catch the same prey, causing these huge cats to eventually become extinct.
Also alive during this time was the megatherium. This massive land mammal dwarfed most of the other creatures it encountered, but fed on fruit and leaves, standing on its hind legs to reach the best vegetation.
1O THOUSAND YEARS AGO – PRESENT DAY
Temperatures on Earth continued to plummet during the beginning of the Holocene Epoch, resulting in a drop in sea and rainfall levels. Huge ice sheets and glaciers formed, covering extensive areas in both hemispheres of the Earth, therefore marking the start of the Ice Age.
Perhaps the most famous prehistoric creature began to dominate the skyline during this time – the woolly mammoth. This species of mammoth adapted to the colder conditions on Earth by growing a coat of thick, dark hair.