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In the archaeology of other areas, the term "Epipaleolithic" may be preferred by most authors, or there may be divergences between authors over which term to use or what meaning to assign to each.

In the New World, neither term is used (except provisionally in the Arctic).

The three -lithics are subdivisions of the Stone Age in the three-age system developed since classical times and given a modern archaeological meaning by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, a Danish archaeologist, in the early 19th century.

Subdivisions of "earlier" and "later" were added to the Stone Age by Thomsen and especially his junior colleague and employee Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaae.

A British school led by John Evans denied any need for an intermediate.If the Mesolithic is more similar to the Paleolithic it is called the Epipaleolithic.The Paleolithic was an age of purely hunting and gathering while in the Neolithic domestication of plants and animals had occurred.The term "Mesolithic" is in competition with another term, "Epipaleolithic", which means the "final Upper Paleolithic industries occurring at the end of the final glaciation which appear to merge technologically into the Mesolithic".In the archaeology of Northern Europe, for example for archaeological sites in Great Britain, Germany, Scandinavia, Ukraine, and Russia, the term "Mesolithic" is almost always used.

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