Posted in: Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 18th, 2012
Frozen World is a four-part History Channel mini-series about the Ice Age. The History Channel tends to have a sensationalistic bent to a lot of its programming. That’s one way of saying that they like history to come alive. This series begins with the battle between Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal human cavemen 40,000 years ago in Clash of the Cavemen. It outlines the differences between these totally different kinds of humans. The Neanderthal is stronger. The Cro-Magnon is smarter. The scientists are just beginning to differentiate between the DNA’s of the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons. We know little about them except they were more brutish and animal like. The Neanderthals had to travel at the time when the ice pushed them south into Germany. Leading scientists are interviewed on the many differences between the two types of humans that led to the eventual extinction of the Neanderthals.
The second installment is called Volcanic Winter. It deals with a massive volcanic explosion 75,000 years ago that shrouded the world in ash and smoke. It details the earth-changing climatic shift caused by the event. The volcano was called Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia. This explosion was 3,000 times bigger than Mount Saint Helens. There has not been a volcano since that has ever been even a small fraction as massive. The closest was another Indonesian explosion in 1815 at Mount Tambora. It was called the year without a summer. Strangely, after the effects of the massive volcanic explosion 75,000 years ago subsided, then a 1,000-year ice age took hold. Once the climate change was established, it fed on itself. Some scientists suggest that the climatic shift was already happening naturally and this event just added a catalyst. Also worth noting is that there are many potential super volcanoes that potentially exists even today. The biggest potential threat is in Yellowstone National Park.
The third installment is about the first colonizing of the Americas back 10,000 years ago. That was the first time humans set foot on the lands in the United States. This installment dwells on intelligent humans and deals in detail on their weapons technology. It also spends considerable time examining the humans preferred prey, the mammoths. They also discuss these early Americans and their daily lives and one of their biggest fears, animals that prey on them. The smilodon or saber-toothed cat is probably their most fearsome adversary. There were also giant versions of bears, wolves, dogs and even camels which started in America and later migrated to the Middle East. Various universities are conducting excavations to this day trying to learn more about the early life on the American continent. Then also discuss the possibilities of both a crossing by the Bering Strait and , more remarkably, early trans-oceanic travel. In fact, Australia might have been populated by sea as early as 40,000 B.C. It also outlines the enormous environmental impact of the last Ice Age.
The final installment is called Mega Freeze. This installment focuses on the relationship of massive climate changes of the past to the potential of a similar future for us all possibly in our lifetimes. Some people consider this alarmist talk, but many scientists take this very seriously. One key bit of information is that very minor event can trigger a massive change and do it very quickly. The scientific term is actually Abrupt Climate Change. The last major change was called the Little Ice Age and started in the 1300 with rapid zigzags in temperature that led to massive problems in the ensuing two centuries. It contributed to the death of the Vikings and the Black Plague which killed at least 110 million people worldwide. It also eventually led to both the French and American revolutions. To bring things back to the volcanoes, we had three big ones, Vesuvius in 1631, Tambora in 1815, and Krakatoa in 1883. Another thing touched upon is the death of the Mayan culture, which is very relevant since many people believe the Mayan prediction of the end of the world in 2012.