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The Early-Middle Pleistocene transition (around 1.2 to 0.5 Ma) marks a profound shift in Earth's climate state. Low-amplitude 41 ka climate cycles, dominating the earlier part of the Pleistocene, gave way progressively to a 100 ka rhythm of increased amplitude that characterizes our present glacial-interglacial world. This volume assesses the biotic and physical response to this transition, both on land and in the oceans: indeed it examines the very nature of Quaternary climate change. Milankovitch theory, palaeoceanography using isotopes and microfossils, marine organic geochemistry, tephrochronology, the record of loess and soil deposition, terrestrial vegetational change, and the migration and evolution of hominins as well as other large and small mammals, are all considered. These themes combine to explore the very origins of our present biota.