In a recent article published in the journal Science, researchers found that the warming periods between ice ages, known as interglacials may be responsible for causing mass extinction events. This is in contrast to the research team's original hypothesis that mass extinctions occurred during cooling events, such as ice ages. In fact, ice ages do not really cause mass die offs.
The researchers looked at the extinctions of Woolly Mammoths and Giant Sloths about 11,000 years ago. Taking advantage of improved methods in Carbon-14 dating and climate data the researchers were able to determine that the extinctions of these species coincided with the warming period after the most recent ice age. They also looked at the rise of humans and determined that these species still died off even where there was no interaction with humans.