20. The Quaternary (since 2,5 M.y)

The Quaternary is marked by the domination of mammals. Nowadays, at the top of the food chain, Homo sapiens causes massive extinctions by overcrowding and overexploitation of ecological niches.

The Ice age

The quaternary is known for regular periods of ice and interglacial called Gunz, Mindel, Riss and Würm. The quaternary fossils exhibited in the museum date from the Würm floor of the Pleistocene, ranging from 125,000 to 11 400 years ago.

The place of humanity

Before the sedentarization of Homo sapiens, like the dinosaurs before them, the dominant mammals had begun to reach gigantic heights. Biscons priscus, Megaloceros, Mammoth, are so many fossils of this period.


Australopitecus sp.

Man is coming from an Australopitecus similar species..

Homo habilis

First human, appeared in Arfrica over 2M.y ago.

Homo erectus

The first Man leaving Africa is the first fire master.

Homo néandertalensis

We are genetically related to this powerful hunter.

Homo sapiens

We are genetically related to this powerful hunter.

Modern Human

Nowadays, there is only one human species.

Human occupations of the Ardèche

The first human occupations of the Ardèche (-350 000 years ago) by Homo erectus, are identified on the site of Orgnac 3 during the interglacial period of Mindel. The cave of Barasses in Balazuc attests the presence of the remains of Neanderthals who came to hunt the ibex more than 50 000 years ago .