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The last glacial period was the most recent glacial period within the current ice age, occurring in the Pleistocene epoch. It began about 110,000 years ago and ended between 10,000 and 15,000 BP. During this period there were several changes between glacier advance and retreat. The maximum extent of glaciation was approximately 18,000 years ago. While the general pattern of global cooling and glacier advance was similar, local differences in the development of glacier advance and retreat make it difficult to compare the details from continent to continent (see picture of ice core data below for differences).
The last glacial period is sometimes colloquially referred to as the "last ice age", though this use is incorrect because an ice age is a longer period of cold temperature in which ice sheets cover large parts of the Earth. Glacials, on the other hand, refer to colder phases within an ice age that separate interglacials. Thus, the end of the last glacial period is not the end of the last ice age. The end of the last glacial period was about 12,500 years ago, while the end of the last ice age may not yet have come: little evidence points to a stop of the glacial-interglacial cycle of the last million years.