|Life-size reconstruction of a steppe mammoth|
(compared with a 3-year old human)
This was a time of cooler weather, as the Ice Ages began to dawn. Forests retreated in the face of advancing tundra, and musk oxen, bison, and (strangely) European hippos began to make their appearance. The cold snap was prolonged, and, so far as we can tell, the fauna of Europe remained relatively stable for the next 600,000 years. That's still a very long time - if we go back to my analogy where we get just one minute to watch the events of a decade, with the whole of written history thereby spread out into a nine hour spectacular, this phase of European history would last a full six weeks.
1.2 million years ago, half way through the Pleistocene, the climate changed again, and mammals (and other animals) were forced to adapt. However, the change wasn't towards yet colder weather, but back towards a warmer, more pleasant climate. The forests grew back, with all their dense undergrowth in attendance, and the harsh steppe-lands retreated into the north. As had been the case at the dawn of the Pleistocene, European weather would have been much as it is now.