Also called the Mesolithic, this period roughly dates to 20–10,000 BCE. The Epipaleolithic begins following the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and a general period of warming. Although people continued to be nomadic hunter-gatherers, the better climate resulted in an unprecedented population growth that put a lot of pressure on the naturally available wild plants and animals, particularly during a brief period of climatic cooling and drying, known as the Younger Dryas. This provided the background for the domestication of animals and cultivation of wild cereals. The Epipaleolithic people are known for producing fine microlithis from chipped stone material. The dominant Epipaleolithic cultures of the Levant are the Kebaran and Natufian cultures. The Zarzian culture was more dominant in western Iran and eastern Iraq.
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