Illinois State Museum

elk exhibit detail
Elk lived in the Northwest Illinois forest.

Current Interglacial - What's Here—What's Not?

The Mississippi, Illinois, Wabash, and Ohio rivers were near their present courses. Lake Michigan existed, but the shoreline was about 51 kilometers (30 mi.) northeast of where Chicago stands today. Black bears, wolves, and wapiti (elk) roamed Illinois. Native Americans hunted and gathered food, traveling in small family groups.

The mastodont, mammoth, giant short-faced bear, and ground sloth were extinct. The spruce forests had died out. Extensive prairies had not yet appeared. There was no farming or permanent settlements. Dandelions, honeybees, pheasants, horses, cattle, and pigs had not yet been introduced.