|Pachycrocuta brevirostris, a European hyena|
The mammals of the Pleistocene include what are surely the most familiar fossil mammals to most people, the ones we generally think of when we think of 'after the dinosaurs'. For this was the time of the mammoths and sabretooths. They're familiar to us because, aside from the tiny sliver of warm weather we currently live in, the Pleistocene is the most recent, and therefore the best preserved and the most easily analysed, of all the epochs of the Age of Mammals. It's been the setting for a number of films, books, and TV series - to name just two, the Ice Age cartoons, and the Earth's Children series.
Yet, when we think seriously about Pleistocene animals, there are a couple of important points to bear in mind.