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Thread: hypothetical scenario: what if Earth never experienced any glacial age?

  1. #1 hypothetical scenario: what if Earth never experienced any glacial age? 
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    Hi everyone. I have a number of questions of a scientific nature that I don't consider myself learned enough to answer. These are not for homework, but purely my own interest. As I am so far unable find the answers in the great Googleverse, I've come here. Unlike most of you I'm neither educated, nor posess any depth of knowledge, in any of the subjects here; they merely interest me is all. I hope you'll be kind enough to bear with me in all my layperson-ness lol.


    My question is, as in the subject, what if Earth never experienced any glacial age?

    1. How would this have happened? (Would something prevent the glacial age from happening? Would there be factors lacking so that it didn't happen? Or would the cause be something else entirely, such as Sun cycles?)
    2. What would be the effect to life on Earth today? How would the absence of such glacial ages affect evolution of life on Earth?


    I appreciate this is a very complex question and I may be approaching it from enitrely the wrong angle (perhaps I should first be asking what caused the glacial ages?), but if it's possible to answer - or at least hypothesize - it from this angle I thought I'd give it a go.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!


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    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    How far back are you suggesting lack of an iceage extend, or are you thinking only of the most recent?


    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Evolution does not proceed evenly. There are times of more rapid evolution and times of slowing change. Some of the factors that appear to have precipitated rapid change are catastrophes. For example, the 'dinosaur killer' asteroid at the end of the Cretaceous era may have been the precipitataing event leading to the rise of both mammals and birds as dominant macrofauna today.

    In this light, it must be seen as possible that the current Ice Age led to evolutionary change. Our species, Homo sapiens, arose in the middle of the current Ice Age, about 200,000 years ago. However, the first rise of agriculture and subsequent town building, came at the end of the last glacial period, and the beginning of the current interglacial warm period. Coincidence?

    So yes. Ice Ages may be important in evolution.
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    Thanks for the responses!

    Paleoichneum
    , I was thinking of all of them to be honest. If Earth never experienced any ice ages at all. Would life never have evolved beyond single cell organisms, or would it have done so but at a much slower rate etc?

    skeptic, seems logical, thanks!
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    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Life would have evolved as is shown in the the Cambrian, but if the snowball earth didn't occur at its end then the entirety of evolutionary progression would have been different after that, and who knows what would be wandering around now.
    etdeceaz likes this.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  7. #6  
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    Thanks Paleoichneum.
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