Florida Coastline 12,000 Years Ago
Long ago, 12,000 years to be exact, Florida would have looked vastly different. It might have looked like the movie Jurassic Park, but without the dinosaurs. However, roaming Florida, as it is called today, were prehistoric mastodons, woolly mammoths, giant sloths, saber-toothed tigers. It was also a colder climate and much drier. And, the land itself was much more extensive. On the west side of Florida, the area extended another 100 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. Looking at the map above, present-day Florida is in the white.
Then, 9000 years ago, things began to change. The glaciers were melting, the climate warmed, the sea levels rose, and the Paleo Indians began to arrive in Florida. For most of Florida history, it was underwater, the last time being 2-4 million years ago.
And, of course, Florida certainly has it's share of mosquitoes and no-see-ums. They are a nuisance and hard to control and have been around forever.
Some scientists believe that Miami and the Florida Keys will be underwater within 80 years. If that happens, a lot of waterfront property will be lost. That's a scary thought! The maps below depict what scientists are projecting for Miami in 2050 and 2100
Projected Sea Levels in Miami
Prehistoric Animals in Florida
The mastodon is distantly related to the elephant. The animal went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene Period, 10,000 to 11,000 years ago. They are believed to live in herds and near forests. The first recorded fossil was a tooth found in 1705, New York, and enough bones found in Kentucky in 1739 to allow them to be scientifically studied.
Prehistoric Giant Sloth
The prehistoric giant sloth evolved in South America about 35 million years ago, migrating to North America about 8 million years ago and going extinct about 11,000 years ago. They are distantly related to the anteaters and armadillos.
Time Line of Prehistoric Florida
Here is a basic timeline of prehistoric Florida
12,000 years ago Paelo Indians arrive
9,000 years ago ice melts, sea levels rise
5,000 years ago modern environment and climate
3,000 years ago Florida begins making pottery
1,000 years ago Indians begin making permanent villages
500 years ago Creek Indians arrive from Georgia, S. Carolina
100 years ago Creeks merge with Seminoles, Miccosukee Indians
The saber-toothed tiger is not directly related to the tiger family. The saber-tooth is built more robust with more developed forelimbs and long upper canine teeth. Their diet consisted of larger prey, such as bison. They are believed to die out about 10,000 years ago, probably because of a lack of larger prey and climate change.
Florida Native AIS Indians
The Ais Native Florida Indians
The Ais were located along the east coast of Florida and mainly settled around the Indian River Lagoon. The area from Cape Canaveral to Jupiter, Florida, was their territory. A Dutch merchant, Jonathan Dickenson shipwrecked in 1696 and spent some time with the Ais Indians. Today, Jonathan Dickenson State Park is located just south of Stuart, Florida. Dickenson left a journal about the Ais Indians. Shortly after 1700, settlers from the Carolinas began killing the Ais and taking captives to Charles Town and sold as slaves.
Slowly, disease, slavery, and warfare led the Native Indians to extinction. The few who managed to escape either fled to Cuba or were taken into other tribes like the Seminoles.
Florida Tequesta Native indians
Tequesta Native Indians
The Florida Tequesta Native
Indians were a small, peaceful group settling near Biscayne Bay, now Miami, Florida. Their diet was mainly fish, small animals and, berries. They had no agriculture. They seemed to have disappeared when the Spanish traded Florida to the British. But time and time again, contact with the Europeans brought disease to the Indians.
Florida Calusa Native indians
Florida Calusa Native indians
The Calusa Indians were also called "Shell Indians." Their territory was mainly from Charlotte Harbor, down to the Florida Keys. At the time of European contact, it was estimated to be about 10,000 natives. They were ingenious in making their fishing nets and using shells for their tools. Here again, settlers from the Carolinas raided and captured them, selling them into slavery. When Spain turned Florida over to the British, they helped the Calusa escape to Cuba. Unfortunately, most died, probably from contact with the Europeans.
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on February 19, 2020:
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on February 15, 2020:
Thank you for reading!
Liz Westwood from UK on February 13, 2020:
This is an amazing trip back in time and an alarming look into the future.
Rosina S Khan on February 13, 2020:
Fran, would you like to read my brand new article titled, "Believe in Miracles- God Will Make a Way"? If yes, you will find the link below and please leave your honest feedback in the comments section of my article. Here is the link:
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on February 13, 2020:
Thank you for your kind words. I truly love history
Rosina S Khan on February 12, 2020:
Fran, this is a lovely, interesting hub about the extinction of peculiar animals and different types of Indians in Florida about 12,000 years ago. You really ought to be credited for highlighting all your pieces of historic information to our attention and make our reading them worthwhile. Thank you.