More than 30 fossil coleopteran (beetle) assemblages have been recorded from oxygen isotope stage 3 in northern Europe, comprising several hundred identified species. Using the mutual climatic range method for quantifying palaeotemperatures, these assemblages show that the climates of the times can be divided into two distinct interstadial types. One, a short phase of temperate/oceanic climate occurred between 43,000 and 42,000 14C yr B.P. when conditions were not much different from those of the present day. In spite of the temperate climate, trees did not colonize northwestern Europe at this time. Two, both before and after this temperate interlude there were phases of cold/continental climate during which summers were too cold for trees to grow and winters were of Siberian intensity. It is possible that periods of even colder conditions intervened from time to time between the interstadial but, because of the intensity of the cold, biological systems were so inhibited that no fossil evidence for them can be found in northern Europe. Evidence for them must be sought in the fossil records from the warmer parts of southern Europe or in the physical evidence in the Greenland ice cores.
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