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The Pleistocene (pronounced /ˈplaɪstəsiːn/) is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 12,000 years BP covering the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek πλεῖστος (pleistos "most") and καινός (kainos "new").

The Pleistocene Epoch follows the Pliocene Epoch and is followed by the Holocene Epoch. The Pleistocene is the first epoch of the Quaternary Period or 6th epoch of the Cenozoic Era.[1] The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the retreat of the last continental glacier. It also corresponds with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology.

In the ICS timescale, the Pleistocene is divided into four stages or ages, the Gelasian, Calabrian, Ionian and Tarantian. All of these stages were defined in southern Europe. In addition to this international subdivision, various regional subdivisions are often used.



The Pleistocene has been dated from 2.588 million (±5,000 years) to 12,000 years before present (BP), with the end date expressed in radiocarbon years as 10,000 carbon-14 years BP.[2] It covers most of the latest period of repeated glaciation, up to and including the Younger Dryas cold spell. The end of the Younger Dryas has been dated to about 9640 BC (11,590 calendar years BP).

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