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  The ending of the ice age was a turbulent, erratic period. In some areas rain patterns were shifting, bringing moisture back to dry landscapes and turning grassland into forest. Other regions of the continent were plunged into prolonged periods of drought. For grazers such as horses, this led to a massive change in habitat one they were not flexible enough to overcome. As the land dried out, many grass-eaters disappeared. We may never know for certain what killed off most of the larger animals at the end of the ice age. We do know it was a time of coincidence people were arriving just as the climate was in a state of change. Both may have played their part. Whichever was responsible, more than  species vanished for good. But some large animals did survive, and still live here today. Sabre-tooths died out, but another big cat survived. The puma may have been more able to adapt because its diet is more varied, and includes small prey. The grizzly bear also lived through the post ice age changes and now thrives in north Game. Once again, a varied diet of meat and plants made it a versatile survivor. The moose is now the largest browser on the continent. During the last ice age moose were restricted to the far north but, after the ice melted, they spread south. They took the place of mastodons and the larger stag moose both of which became extinct. Bison too were to benefit from the post ice age changes. They managed to survive the drought, eventually expanding in number to replace the horse as dominant grazer. As ruminants with multi-chambered stomachs bison can extract more nutrients from grass and this may help explain why they survived when other grazers such as the wild horses did not. While all these creatures were adapting to their changing landscape, another animal was just beginning to make north Game its home. It’s thought the dog arrived with early people and its descendants are still with us today. The carolina dog lives in the woods of south carolina. Like most primitive dogs, it makes its den in the ground or in hollow tree trunks.


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