When Hippos And Lions Used To Run Wild In London

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If urban foxes give you the heebie-jeebies, then you’d have liked London even less back in the day.

That’s according to a fascinating timeline of Britain’s climatic history, put together by the Natural History Museum.

Great Britain glaciation history

You see, over the last million years, Britain has really been through the ringer. We’ve been connected to – and cut off from – mainland Europe twice.

We’ve been covered in feet of ice for centuries at a time, then experienced massive sea-level rise and delightfully steamy tropical conditions.

And in fact, a mere 125,000 years ago, it’s believed that not only were hippos happily splashing about the Thames, but lions would have been stalking the hills of Hampstead Heath, which certainly would have made walking the dog – or wolf – more of a challenge for the local yummy-Neanderthals… if there were any.

London Lions

Because sadly, it’s thought that early humans were missing from England at the one time it was actually bloody warm here, possibly because they all killed themselves when they realised they had nothing to moan about.

If you actually quite fancy the idea of frequent encounters with charismatic megafauna, rest assured we’re the climate is currently drastically warmer than at any point in known history, so you could be dodging cheetahs on your commute before you know it.

Read the full story on the Natural History Museum’s website.

Guy Parsons

Guy Parsons

Guy is the editor-in-chief of Secret London. He likes running, cover versions and scotch.