With the formation of the Alps came the emergence of Germany’s longest river, the Rhine. 2.6 million years ago, a new era began. A layer of ice covered large parts of the country. In the short warm periods, when the glaciers melted, areas of woodland began to spread again. They became the home of deer and hippos. But the animals were no longer alone. 600,000 years ago, the Homo heidelbergensis hunted here for the first time, followed by the Neanderthal man. The age of man in Germany had begun.