New Earth Epoch Has Begun, Scientists Say
Welcome to the "new man" age (official confirmation pending).
Earth's geologic epochs—time periods defined by evidence in rock layers—typically last more than three million years.
We're barely 11,500 years into the current epoch, the Holocene. But a new paper argues that we've already entered a new one—the Anthropocene, or "new man," epoch.
The name isn't brand-new. Nobel Prize-winner Paul Crutzen, a co-author of the paper, coined it in 2002 to reflect the unprecedented changes humans have wrought in the roughly 200 years since the industrial revolution.
The report, however, is part of new push to formalize the Anthropocene epoch.
Recent human impacts—including habitat destruction, environmental pollution, and animal and plant extinctions—have been so great that they'll result in an obvious boundary in Earth's rock layers, the authors say.
(Find out how degraded soil