Planet Earth: Should we assign humans to a new Geological Epoch?

Notes from the North Woods

If this new data holds up, it may mean that our Anthropocene Epoch will be said to have started some 5000 years ago. But given the evidence that the extinction of many large plant-eating mammals was likely at least a partial consequence of human predation beginning about 40,000 years ago perhaps it would be more logical to discard the Holocene Epoch altogether and place the start of the Anthropocene Epoch at least as far back as the end of the Pliocene Epoch. In any event, we can be sure it will be some time before any renaming and dating of our current Epoch is generally agreed upon by geologists.

Questions and suggestions from readers are welcomed and will be responded to in future editions of this column. Contact me at cwdingman2@frontier.com.

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