MAY 28, 2016 5:54 PM PDT

Would You Be Able to Survive 2.5 Million Years Ago?

WRITTEN BY: Julianne Chiaet

Would you be able to survive 2.5 million years ago? At the time, Earth was in the Pleistocene epoch. This geological epoch spanned from about 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago. Most of the recent ice ages took place during this epoch. At its glacial maximum, 30 percent of Earth's surface was covered in ice. The climate was much colder and drier. Many mammals became extinct during this time, including mammoths and saber-toothed cats. Neanderthals also become extinct.

It is widely believed that many human diseases emerged once animals were domesticated. However, new data shows that diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy were around during the Pleistocene epoch. Scientists also determined that the Plasmodium parasites, which cause malaria, were around 2.5 million years ago. However, the malaria vectors were relatively benign until the rise of agriculture and dense human population.
About the Author
  • Julianne (@JuliChiaet) covers health and medicine for LabRoots. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, Scientific American, and MailOnline. While primarily a science journalist, she has also covered culture and Japanese organized crime. She is the New York Board Representative for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). • To read more of her writing, or to send her a message, go to Jchiaet.com
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