When Ice was on the Land
In the earth’s long history the climate has changed many times. It has been warmer and it has been cooler. The earth has experienced numerous ice ages throughout its history including North America. Ice Ages are intervals of time when large areas of the surface of the earth are covered with ice sheets or large continental glaciers. The most recent glacial period is sometimes referred to as “the Ice Age” and lasted from 30,000 to 14, 000 years ago.
The presence of these glaciers created changes on the land. They locked up much of the earth’s water causing the oceans to be about 250 feet lower than today. During that time, the land between Alaska and Russia was above sea level and made a huge land bridge, also known as Beringa. A widely held theory is that people and animals moved from Asia to North America over this land and eventually found their way south into what is now Canada and the United States. Archaeologists call these first people in North America Paleo-Indians.
The picture of Paleo-Indian activity in Idaho is a sketchy one because there are so few sites that are that old. Evidence uncovered at Wilson Butte Cave indicates that it has been used by early people as long as 15,000 years ago making it Idaho's earliest site. They found stone tools and the remains of now extinct forms of camel, horse, and sloth here. They also found two bone fragments dating back to about 14,500 years ago.
Next page: Beringia