Quaternary Period is the current geologic period of the
Cenozoic Era and extends from 2.6 Ma to the present. The Quaternary
Period is subdivided into the Pleistocene and Holocene
Epochs. Quaternary is derived from the Latin term for
"by fours" quatern (Borror, 1988,
p. 83). The Pleistocene Epoch is defined by repeated
During this time intense periods of glaciation lasting
up to 100,000 years alternated with warmer interglacial
periods of 20,000 to 30,000 years (McNamara, 2009, p.
416). Continental glaciers during this time reached latitudes
as far as
mammals that flourished during this time went extinct
at the end of the Pleistocene around 11, 700 years ago.
The Holocene or present epoch represents an interglacial
period. Fossils recognizable as human appear during the
Quaternary Period. You can explore the epochs of the
Quaternary Period by using the drop down menu or by clicking
on the image or links below.